Traditionally, a muzzleloader is a gun wherein you load the propellant charge through the muzzle or the open end of the gun’s barrel, usually with the bullet and powder crammed into the tube every time you have to fire.
Muzzleloaders in the modern sense are breech-loading firearms that are swabbed or cleaned before being reloaded to ensure accuracy. Having the best muzzleloader scope can also help out in the accuracy department, which incidentally our ancestors and their muzzle-loaded muskets lacked. In musket events and military rifle events, the MLAIC forbids swabbing during competition.
Top 8 Muzzleloader Scopes Comparison Table
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The Top 8 Best Scopes for Muzzleloader Firearms
- Nikon M-223 4-16×42 Nikoplex: What more can you ask for from the Nikon M-223 4-16×42 Nikoplex? It has everything or nearly everything.
For example, it features shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof technology with nitrogen-filled and O-ring-sealed rugged tubes made of aircraft-grade aluminum. This is definitely the best scope for muzzleloader, if not one of the best because it maintains quality you’d expect from a riflescope for modern arms. Furthermore, its incredible Rapid Turret Technology based on .223/5.56mm 55-grain polymer tipped bullet allows you to dial your elevation anywhere from 100-600 yards and adjust it to pinpoint precision every time, all in less than one revolution.
Even with a breech-loaded muzzleloader, you can achieve accuracy at any shooting distance while staying put in the middle of your Nikoplex crosshair. Just turn the turret and adjust at every shot or between every other swab. The Nikon M-223 also has an amazing eye box technology that allows for a 4x-16x zoom range and four inches of non-critical eye relief so that the recoil of your muzzleloader won’t hit you in the eye and your placement of the scope from four inches away won’t affect the scope’s effectiveness. In other words, you’re given gigantic ocular multicoated lens in order to enjoy a massive, high-definition picture of your target with exceptionally brightness all throughout. That’s Nikon quality right there.
- Nikon P-223 3-9×40 BDC 600: Speaking of Nikon cost-effective quality, it’s also apparently and obviously present in the Nikon P-223 3-9×40 BDC 600.
The main feature of this riflescope and muzzleloader optic scope extraordinaire of a product is its BDC 600 reticle, which has open circle aiming points, hash marks for at-a-glance estimation of distance from 100 to 600 yards, and muzzleloader scope compensation for bullet drop for the 223 Rem /5.56 NATO round with 55-grain polymer tip bullet. It also has standard-issue 3x to 9x magnification that covers all distances, from 3x-4x scouting rifle range that’s enough for sniping at great distances with immediate target acquisition to 5x-9x long-distance sniping magnification that doesn’t go overboard.
Some scopes can go up to 80x in magnification, which is extreme and unnecessary (as well as problematic as far as parallax issues are concerned). The 3x-9x range with a big 40-millimeter objective size is enough for most hunters out there, even if it’s a muzzleloader that requires extra breech-loading preparation. In fact, even with technologies like as fast rifling, sealed primer, and closed breach to ensure long-distance shooting, you’ll still need a dependable BDC 600 scope like Nikon to ensure that your muzzleloader’s aim to become true and accurate. Besides which, even at “just” 9x magnification, it has 100-yard parallax setting that eliminates parallax for 100 yards.
- Leupold Ultimate Slam Muzzleloader Scope 3-9x40mm: The Leupold Ultimate Slam Muzzleloader Scope 3-9x40mm has on the surface identical specs to the Nikon P-223 3-9×40 BDC 600 except for the lack of a BDC 600 reticle.
However, the Leupold Ultimate Slam Muzzleloader Rifle Scope has a lot to bring to the table aside from standard-issue short-to-long-range 3x to 9x magnification. It’s one of the best muzzleloader scopes around because it’s made specifically with muzzleloaders in mind (while the Nikon BDC 600 is more of a riflescope that you can incidentally use on a muzzleloader too). It’s one of the most advanced muzzleloader-developed scopes available as well.
It contains all the features that made Leupold riflescopes renowned (like the Leupold-innovated fogproof technology that uses sealed nitrogen to keep fogging and moisture on your lenses, which used to be a problem with prewar scopes). Instead of a BDC reticle, it contains a Sabot Ballistics Reticle that holds points for shots taken from 50 to 300 yards at increments of 50 yards (50, 100, 200…). You won’t have to guess how accurate or long your shots are, plus the distance calculation enables you to adjust the elevation for bullet drop considerations with ease. There’s loads of clarity and brightness included with the multicoated lead-free lenses as well.
- Leupold VX-1 Muzzleloader Scope 1-4x20mm Heavy Duplex Reticle Matte: As for the Leupold VX-1 Muzzleloader Scope, it’s the muzzleloader version of the classic Leupold VX-1 riflescope for non-muzzle-loading firearms.
It was redesigned specifically for muzzleloaders in mind, which entailed fine-tuning the VX-1 design and adding muzzleloader-assisting specs such as decent eye relief, scouting-range 1x to 4x magnification range on a 20-millimeter objective, a streamlined eye piece that tapers down onto the lock ring, and a power selection ring that makes it easy to switch from one magnification power to another with its raised finger tab. Turrets can easily be adjusted with your fingers as well.
They also come with turret caps for extra protection. The glass on this VX-1 scope and all its other variants are lead-free as well, ensuring 100% environment friendliness all the while without sacrificing the optical performance of your muzzleloader scope at all. It brings out all the strengths of the muzzleloader and mitigates its slower pace in preparation and firing compared to semiautomatics and assault rifles. Because the multicoated lens system of the Leupold VX-1 is lead-free, you’re ensured of a premium high-definition picture of whatever it is you’re targeting and having optimum light transmission at the same time, making this the ideal scope for even low-light conditions.
- Konus Pro 275 Muzzleloader Rifle Scope 3-9x40mm Ballistic Reticle Matte: The Konus Pro 275 Muzzleloader Rifle Scope 3-9x40mm Ballistic Reticle Matte has a unique propriety ballistic reticle that extends your range when firing your modern muzzleloader and improving your overall precision even when taking the hardest-to-do shots possible.
It offers aiming points that make it easier to get an accurate shot, which is critical to a muzzleloader because it takes longer for you to load it even with the additional modern upgrades. It also features lateral hash marks on its reticles that you can use as guides to compensate for strong crosswinds.
The more adjustments you can make to deal with factors such as windage and elevation, the better you’ll be at making your shot count. Its aiming points are actually based on the most popular black powder and center fire loads. As far as the lenses of the Konus Pro are concerned, they’re also multicoated to ensure the brightest and clearest sight images. You won’t mistake the forest for the trees or moving foliage for your actual target, whether you’re hunting for big game or engaging in military combat. It has quite the impressive specs as well, such as its ¼ MOA adjustment click value, its one-inch tube diameter, its fast focus eyepiece, its finger-adjustable turrets, and power variability at 3x to 9x.
- Konus Pro 275 Muzzleloader Rifle Scope 3-10x44mm Illuminated Ballistic Reticle Matte: The Konus Pro 275 Muzzleloader Rifle Scope 3-10x44mm Illuminated Ballistic Reticle Matte outdoes the Konus Pro 275 Muzzleloader Rifle Scope 3-9x40mm Ballistic Reticle Matte by having an extra magnification power of 10x and having a bigger objective lens size at 44 millimeters.
Other than that, it offers everything you’d want of a quality muzzleloader riflescope, including an exclusive ballistic illuminated reticle (only the center dot is illuminated, though), glass-etched reticle construction, a CR20323V battery type, a fixed parallax adjustment, holdover reticle, matte finish, and fogproof to waterproof protection.
It’s also constructed to be shockproof, since even muzzleloaders have recoil to them. Its eye relief is at a generous three inches, which is standard for a muzzleloader rifle. As for the tube diameter of the Konus Pro 275, it’s about an inch. There’s also ¼ MOA adjustment click value to this scope, with no exposed turrets but they’re finger-adjustable turrets at the very least. Its reticle focal plane location is at the second and its turret height is at medium. As for the lens coating, you get the requisite multicoated lens that ensure maximum light transmission plus fast focus eyepieces that ensure immediate target acquisition and immediate quick-reflex shooting precision.
- Vortex Crossfire II Muzzleloader Scope 1x24mm V-Plex Reticle Matte: The glass quality of the Vortex Crossfire II Muzzleloader Scope 1x24mm V-Plex Reticle Matte is quite superb.
It’s some of the best and toughest lenses you’ll ever get from a muzzleloader, particularly a fixed magnification one with a 24-millimeter objective lens diameter. It works well with the V-Plex Reticle in that your targeting is unimpeded by these high-quality, maximum-light-transmitting lenses that ensure consistent brightness at all times due to their crystal clear glass nature. The one-inch tube is well-constructed and can stand up to the recoil of your muzzleloader because it’s made from aircraft-grade aluminum.
The scope comes complete with ½ MOA adjustment click value, finger adjustable turrets, low turret height, a fast focus eyepiece, lens coating that ensure maximum light transmission, lens covers, no power variability, a fixed magnification power of 1x, glass etched reticle construction, and 3.8 inches of eye relief. It also has standard scope technology that ensure moisture-free, fog-free lenses due to its nitrogen gas sealed right into the tube so that no moisture could possibly get in and obscure your lenses at all, no matter how cold or how wet your surroundings can get. This is something that’s found in all scopes nowadays, though. What isn’t so common among riflescopes of the muzzleloader variety is the VIP Lifetime Warranty of Vortex.
- Thompson Center Hawken Hunter Muzzleloader Rifle Scope 1x32mm Centerplex Reticle Matte: The Thompson Center Hawken Hunter Muzzleloader Rifle Scope 1x32mm Centerplex Reticle Matte is made by one of the most respected and oldest names in the business that incidentally has products that cover retro technology rifles with a modern twist.
Their available technologies are also a mix of traditional and cutting edge, particularly when it comes to their scopes. Thompson Center’s Hawken Series are renowned to both western and eastern hunters due to their factory-limited warranty coverage, a wide field of view, ruggedness that withstands magnum recoil, and fully coated optics.
This blackpowder rifle scope was made with muzzleloaders in mind. Its tube diameter is at an inch, it has a fixed 1x magnification, and its objective diameter of 32 millimeters can go up to as high as 36.9 millimeters. Its eye relief is at a generous 3.8 inches, it has a ¼ MOA adjustment click value, its field of view at 100 yards is 60 meters at 1x, its weight is at 10.2 ounces, and its length is at 9.5 inches. As you can plainly see, it hits all the high points of what makes for a quality muzzleloader scope, from a 1 to ¼ MOA adjustment click value to its scouting range magnification power.
Scopes help a lot when it comes to making muzzleloaders accurate and long range along with the modern inclusions to them. When picking the right scope for your muzzleloaders, find the names that specifically cater to them instead of attempting to fit a traditional riflescope with your muzzleloader, since there are differences between the two scope types. Modern muzzleloaders include in-line rifles, flintlock and percussion long guns, and sidelock firearm reproductions that use modern inventions such as fast rifling, sealed primer, and closed breach to enable them to have considerable long-range accuracy compared to their ancient counterparts.
With that said, outside of these contests, swabbing and scope usage are fair game. Furthermore, swabbing should only be done after five to ten shots in muzzleloaders that are small arms, like pistols and blunderbusses. Also remember that muzzleloaders that are huge in caliber are always swabbed between shots, from rifles to one of the biggest muzzleloaders of them all, which is the cannon. This is done to avoid accidents caused by live sparks igniting residual gunpowder as the firearm is being loaded. In conclusion, they’re retro technology guns with modern aspects to them.