For most people, the priority is to buy the rifle and the scope is the afterthought, but that shouldn’t necessarily be the case even though you have a limited budget of a hundred bucks or so. There are ways to guarantee your accuracy with a scope no matter what the conditions of your environment is. You can also further bolster your hunting capabilities with the right scope even if budgeting is a concern. It’s really all about research.
8 Best Cheap Rifle Scopes Comparison Table
Top Cheap Rifle Scopes for Sale
- UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12×44 Compact IE Scope: 14 out of 15 people are satisfied with what the UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12×44 Compact IE Scope has to offer, which bodes well in regards to its pricing and overall value.
The reason why most people are happy with it because of its cost-effective way of going about with the right compact design. As far as tactical rifles are concerned, it’s always the perfect fit, and most gunmen are always amazed at how effective it can be even with sniper rifles in light of its $90 cost. The simple sunshade feature it has is a nice touch as well, showing you don’t need to be high tech to be effective.
What’s more, the product compares positively to other riflescopes in terms of getting more bang for your buck or more value for your investment. It’s innovative in the sense that it has a color-changing reticle that allows you to see the crosshairs at any environment. You also spend less time estimating and guessing where your shot will land thanks to the windage, elevation, and MOA adjustments present in the scope.
Any element that could alter the trajectory or course of your shot, from the power of the wind to gravity, will be taken care of. You’ll save time doing trial and error firings as long as you have the UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12×44 Compact IE Scope by your side.
- BARSKA 6.5-20×50 AO Varmint Target Dot Riflescope: Here’s another mainstay when it comes to budget riflescopes that don’t compromise on quality. It can even be a clear winner in terms of overall quality thanks to its 20x magnification, among other specs.
Many hunters believe that 3x to 9x power is enough, because anything beyond that causes a whole host of problems in terms of windage, elevation, and parallax adjustment. However, if you’re a skilled enough marksman, the extra magnification from afar helps your chances and ensuring maximum, sniper-tier precision every time.
Aside from being a high range scope, it beats Nikon’s offerings in terms of price as well, costing at less than $75 when shipped.
It’s one of the least expensive models you’ll get, but it isn’t a downgrade by any means not only because it has a 6.5x to 20x magnification range, but also for its extra-large objective lens diameter at 50 millimeters.
On the other hand, it does have some tradeoffs despite it covering all the essentials of a scope that’s many times more expensive than it is, such as the fact that you can’t use the adjustable settings (from windage to parallax adjustment) at 16x and above. It might as well have limited its magnification to 15x if this is the case since anything above it is virtually worthless and offers a non-stable and unclear image.
- Burris Scout 2.75 x 20mm Heavy Plex Reticle Matte Black Riflescope: The Burris Scout 2.75 x 20mm is a specialized type of riflescope that’s been increasing in fame and popularity among hunters and gun shooters thanks to its unique offerings, features, and benefits.
More to the point, the Burris Scout is the kind of riflescope you use for low-magnification, close-range “scout” type of hunting. This scope is in line with the sights, caliber, weight, and length of scout rifles proposed by the late Colonel Jeff Cooper that’s perfect for scouting expeditions and up-close hunting in your camouflaged uniform or gear. The Burris Scout has long eye relief as well as forward mounting on the gun’s action.
This is for the sake of engagement with dangerous game or enemy soldiers within close range. You can do this with the iron sights of a pistol, sure, but a rifle has more stopping power and for the longest time, many marksmen lamented on how little manufacturers cared about the firearm’s close-range capabilities.
This scouting riflescope comes complete with a crisp reticle on clear glass and the ability to maximize light transmission. It’s also dependable when it comes to acquiring you target at a glance and ensuring you have some serious accuracy that goes beyond the M1A’s match grade iron sights that can target anything within 1,000 yards.
- Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-223: As for this Bushnell offering, you can expect high quality action here as well. It’s still below the $200 budget limit, plus it has 3x to 12x magnification and a 40-millimeter objective to boot. Here’s what you can get when you buy a Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-223.
First, you have an efficient BDC reticle that’s proven to increase your accuracy a hundredfold because you’re taking out the guesswork in your scoping activities.
Everything is measured and anything can be adjusted. You have complete control over how accurate you can get, which is exactly the kind of assistance a marksman is looking for when attempting to get an edge in sporting competitions.
It includes a lifetime warranty, it’s built to last, and every one of the settings can give you a clear image up until 12x. This is in stark contrast to the BARSKA offering that’s only clear for up to 15x, so its 16x and above magnification might as well not be there.
The reticle of Bushnell also offers a bit of uniqueness to it because it’s calibrated for the 223 round out of 500 yards in 100 yard increments. Simply put, the calibration ensures that it’s easy to adjust your aim for every 100 yards at a glance since everything is indicated in the BDC reticle. The BDC Reticle Riflescope with Target Turrets and Side Parallax, 3-12x 40mm has everything you’re looking for and more in a scope.
- Bushnell Banner Illuminated Red/Green Multi-X Reticle Riflescope, 3-9x40mm: Bushnell Banner Illuminated Red/Green Multi-X Reticle Riflescope shows that sometimes, different is good. It’s not a clone of the Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-223, but it does offer certain advantages that the AR Optics cannot give.
The Bushnell Banner Illuminated Red/Green Multi-X Reticle is a must-have because it’s a traditional hunting scope that any hunter could acclimate themselves to in a jiffy. It’s not as fancy as other Bushnell models, but sometimes classic windage and elevation adjustment by knobs and at-a-glance shooting action is just what the marksman ordered. There’s no need to fix something that isn’t broken, after all, even though some might find it tedious.
For example, some hunters who are used with high-tech gadgetry might not like the fact that you have to remove caps in order to set elevation and windage as seen in classic or old-school scopes. With that said, this model has a reticle you can see in any lighting condition without any uneven halo or glow.
You can get a 2.25″ group at 200 yards with the Bushnell AR Optics scope. The Bushnell Banner Illuminated Red/Green Multi-X Reticle Riflescope, 3-9x40mm, simply put, is a great buy of a scope. Its Multi-X reticle might be different from the BDC reticle of Bushnell AR Optics, but it offers certain aiming and precision benefits that are unique to the Bushnell Banner, like red or green illumination for low-light conditions.
- Leupold VX-1 3-9×40 Waterproof Riflescope: As for the Leupold VX-1, its main claim to fame is the fact that it’s waterproof and fogproof. Even if you’re hunting in a foggy morning wherein moisture is everywhere, you won’t have to worry about your scope getting obscured by the vapor around you.
It’s also Matte Black and has a Duplex Reticle 113874. Crosshairs are supposed to make it easier to spot and aim your gun dead in your sights (or in this case, scope), and the Duplex Reticle is no exception to this rule. This under $200 Leupold offering is an instance where even a brand name can produce a quality low-budget scope while still retaining everything that makes that brand great.
That’s what the Leupold VX-1 3-9×40 brings to the table. To be more specific, this company’s lowest price product reeks of quality as a no-frills scope on the extra feature standpoint.
It still stands on its own with its gold ring that encircles that objective lens, its consistent clarity across all magnifications, and the fact that its specs all cater to the standards of quality riflescope action, from the recommended magnification of 3x to 9x (which is believed to be optimum enough for sniper-tier long-range shooting) and its waterproofing and fogproofing that has always been a signature Leupold innovation (Leupold was the one that came up with fogproof technology that’s now the standard in every scope).
- Leupold VX-2 3-9x40mm Rifle Scope, Matte Black, Duplex Reticle 110797: Version 2 of the cost-effective Leupold VX-1—theLeupold VX-2 3-9x40mm Rifle Scope—improves upon what was offered by its predecessor in more ways than one.
For example, when field tested, the Leupold VX-2 offered more than just a price difference but also more reticle choices and extra type lens coating. With that said, there are those who allege there’s not much difference between the two sibling scopes.
They, after all, use the same objective diameter, one-inch tube size, and settings for magnification (3x to 9x, the standard you should expect from long-range riflescope action without worrying too much about marksman-level adjustments and whatnot).
Because the VX-1 and VX-2 from Leupold features the same specs where it counts like objective sizes, finish, and magnification range, if you want something for cheap, then the VX-1 is your best bet. If you wish a little more from your VX-1 in terms of slightly clearer image, slightly lighter when handled, and a wider range of reticle types if you don’t want to use just the limited variety present with VX-1, then go with VX-2.
The duplex reticle from both scopes offer distinct and crisp imagery that allows for accurate medium to long-rage shooting. The Leupold VX-2 3-9x40mm Rifle Scope delivers some slight improvements to your VX-1, but if you can’t afford it, then going with the VX-1 is enough.
- Nikon ProStaff 3-9×40 Black Matte: This is a mainstay when it comes to cost-advantageous guns. Majority of people like it not just because it costs $166. It’s also equipped with windage, elevation, and parallax adjustment knobs to make sure you always get the most accurate shot possible.
Most importantly, Nikon in general and the ProStaff in particular showcase the brand’s ability to make high-end products at the least possible cost without ever compromising anything. Many hunters remain amazed at how Nikon finds way to include 3x to 9x magnification with a 40 millimeter objective lens at below $200 yet still enable it to compare with $1,000 scopes. It’s particularly excellent in terms of field of view and illumination.
Perhaps thanks to its legacy as a camera and camera lens maker, Nikon has discovered the secret to making a cheap riflescope not be low grade but instead a bargain that borders on stealing or charity on their part. It ensures maximum accuracy with specs like a BDC reticle, quick-focus eyepiece, fogproof and waterproof performance with O-ring-sealed nitrogen inside, 3.6 inches of eye relief for all you snipers out there, spring-loaded adjustment knob for the zero-reset turret, and a fully multicoated optical system that ensures maximum light transmission for up to 98% of all available light, which makes the ProStaff absolutely a must for hunting in low-light conditions every time.
- Nikon P-233 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600: In many ways, the only way to beat a Nikon is to get another Nikon. Here’s another amazing scope for your money with a whole bevy of amazing specs to boot.
This highly technological scope comes at a not-to-expensive price of $192, which makes it only slightly more expensive than ProStaff, but for good reason. It’s every bit worth every penny as its counterpart, with loads of extra features that belie its 3x to 9x magnification with a 40 millimeter objective lens benefit that’s the same as what you can get from the ProStaff. To be more specific, the Nikon P-233 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600 offers technological advancements galore.
Nikon again showcases what an amazing brand it is (it’s like the McDonaldsof riflescopes, in a sense; cheap price, delicious offerings) by delivering a BDC (Bullet Drop Compensation) 600 technological marvel that’s part of the Amazon best-seller’s list since it can compensate for the trajectory of a 5.56 NATO with a 55-grain polymer-tipped bullet or .223 Rem. What BDC 600 means is that your reticle has guides, aiming points, and hash marks from 100 to 600 yards, allowing you to compensate for bullet drop and removing the guesswork portion of shooting.
- Nikon M-223 1-4×20 Point Blank: Nikon also has its own low-magnification scout rifle like with the Burris Scout 2.75 x 20mm Heavy Plex Reticle Matte Black Riflescope.
It has all the specs you’d expect from a close-range riflescope, but with the distinct Nikon touch when it comes to cost versus value benefits. It’s important to note that while many long-range riflescopes possess close-range settings like 3x or 4x, they usually aren’t as good as the magnification range of a 1x to 4x scope, especially in terms of clarity and image stability. What’s more, many people avail of low-magnification scopes exactly because they want something a little better than iron sights you have to line up exactly to shoot properly.
Riflescopes like Nikon allow for quick shooting on your feet when faced with enemies or dangerous game. What’s more, rifles generally have more stopping power compared to a handgun or pistol, especially at pointblank or close range. This Nikon product weighs about 13.93 inches and has a length of about 10.35 inches.
What’s more, it has generous eye relief and a matte black scope finish. Its objective lens diameter is 20 millimeters as well, which is a perfect fit for its 1x to 4x magnification that doesn’t require as much light in order to work up close. Most importantly, its field of view is 92.9 feet at 100 yards at 1x and 23.1 feet at 100 yards at 4x.
Many people have no idea what they’re looking for when getting an affordable riflescope or a riflescope in general. There are many budget options to be had under the $200-$300 range as long as you’re willing to look. Many of them are short-range rifles that go beyond the 4x magnification, such as the Nikon M-223 and the Buris Scout Riflescope. Others are of the standard 3x to 9x variety with fogproofing and BDC reticles.
There are also those that are barebones versions of more expensive models, as with the case of the Leupold VX series. Many others have varying degrees of quality, like some having issues with clear shooting beyond 16x and the like. All you really need to do is have an idea what you need and just buy the best scope of the bunch.