The deer is an excellent animal to hunt. Deer hunting is one of the most common types of sports in the world. Combination, speed, intelligence, good amount of meat and skin, the deer is the perfect challenge for any hunter to hunt.
There are huge populations of deer everywhere, both in the forests and national parks; hence they are easily available to hunt. Of course deer hunting requires a bunch of skills, patience and proper equipment.
While you have the time to acquire the former, this article will tell you everything you need to know about the latter: equipment. Factors like price, availability in the market, size, length, features, all are to be taken into consideration while buying a scope.
Your experience of deer hunting or your experience in using a scope both matter a lot. There are scopes which are not meant for newbie hunters, since they have many adjustments and controls which can take a lot of time to master.
Best Rifle Scope for Deer Hunting
Amateurs should stick with simple and easy to set up scopes. Let’s jump right in and see what we need for deer hunting!
1. Nikon ProStaff 3-9X 40 Black Matte Riflescope
Nikon is a very well known company for manufacturing the top quality scopes. Some features of this scope are, a maximum magnification of 9x though the resolution and clarity is amazing at all magnifications.
Length of objective lens is about 40mm with a light transmission of about 98% which ensures a perfect vision in dim and low light conditions. Nitrogen filled tube and o-ring sealed makes this scope fog proof, water proof, shock proof and hence very durable.
This scope is ideal for long range shooting simply because of the see-through ballistic circles and the 0.22 LR specific BDC reticle.
Turrets are resettable to zero and have a positive click; also the parallax adjuster removes any parallax error from 100 yards up till infinity. It has a bullet drop compensator reticle for accurate shots.
The diameter of the tube of this rifle scope is 1 inch which is about 25mm, it is a bit less than the ideal measurement (30mm to 34mm), but it makes the rifle scope compact and lightweight.
2. Leupold VX-R 3-9x40mm Patrol Riflescope
It is one of the best scopes for deer hunting. American style engineering and manufacturing perfection gives it a great value for your money.
Leupold gives you a clear, bright, crisp and distortion free image of your target. This scope is so durable and strong that there is a slight chance you will hand your scope to your grandkids.
Several types of reticles are available for types of shooters, ranging from standard duplex to wind plex. Finger adjustable and tactile turret adjustments are just some of its features.
Tube is filled with nitrogen, making it completely fog proof. This scope is available in two brilliant finishes, matte black and silver.
The outer body of this scope is waterproof and shockproof making it ideal for a tough and exciting adventure. The most striking features of this scope are that the lens is coated with a diamond coat to prevent abrasion and diopter adjustment allows the use of this scope for people who have a low vision.
Along with the lens, this scope has an objective lens whose diameter is about 40mm and a generous magnification of range 3x to 9x.
3. Nikon Buck masters II
With a maximum magnification of 9x and a minimum of 3x, this scope is the one you are looking for. It is perfect for people who are looking for something professional and also have a tight budget.
The optical system is fabricated using lead and arsenic free glass for a perfect performance. You are very fortunate because this is a high quality scope for such a low price.
The lenses are multi layer and coated with an anti reflective coating to give a clear, distinct, crisp and bright image of the target at any magnification. The entire field of view has an unmatched clarity.
This scope has an amazing eye relief, which protects your eyes and gives you a great viewing experience. Handles of this can be easily reset to zero after shooting and are spring loaded.
All the mechanisms of this scope are located inside of an aircraft grade aluminum body, which is waterproof and shockproof. Tube is filled with nitrogen to make it fog proof.
One trouble with this scope is that it is not made for low light shooting but is the best choice for people who like to hunt in the light.
4. Vortex Optics Diamondback
This is again Vortex scope and we all know that Vortex scopes are high quality, affordable, have a good value for your money and stylish in appearance.
Have you ever heard about any scope having seven different magnifications? Well apparently this one does.
It is ideal for big game shooting that is shooting a big animal like the deer. Ideally, the magnification range is 4 – 12x with an objective lens diameter of 40mm, eye relief is about 3.1 inches and also optics are fully multi coated and made anti reflective glass to give a clear and distinct image of your target.
Tube is made from a single piece aircraft grade aluminum and is filled with argon making it fog proof. Reticle type is BDC.
In scope there is a precision glide erector system. A precision glide erector system is basically a system which does not affect the quality of the image of the target when magnifications are changed.
Along with the amazing system, the parallax correction is set at about 100 yards. Diamondback weighs about 14 ounces which is a very considerable weight for a 4 – 12x. It is also nice and compact and is 12 inches in length.
5. Primary Arms 4-14×44 FFP Rifle Scope
This model of the Primary Arms has a very wide magnification which is ideal for long range shooting adventures.
It has the traditional MIL – DOT reticle along with the first focal plane reticle which stays true at all magnifications. Parallax is side adjustable with a fast focus eyepiece. Turrets are finger adjustable, resettable to zero and are exposed.
The outer body is made up of aircraft grade aluminum and has an anodized matte finish to it. Main tube of this scope is 30mm and is compatible with many rings and mounts.
The glass clarity (from which the objective lens is made up of) is amazing. The turret adjustments of this scope are military preferred and honestly speaking are better out in the field. The one thing that is a little off about it is that the clicks on the adjustment knobs are not that great.
This rifle scope is equipped with an amazing magnification range of about 4x to 14x which topped with a generous eye relief of 3.2 inches. Though the objective lens is a little big in size (diameter is 44m) but overall the rifle scope is lightweight and compact.
6. Athlon Ares BTR 4.5-27×50
Athlon is one of the newest players in the scope industry but that does not mean that it is any less than the old ones. It started a few years ago and has become good in everything right now from quality to price.
This scope has a mid size that is of about 50mm objective lens which is indeed great for long range shooting and is 13.8 inches long, and weighs about 27.3 ounces.
Though the size of the objective lens is ordinary, the light transmission in this scope is excellent. The turret adjustments on the scope are pretty good too. Turret adjustments have an o-ring, are tactile and are resettable to zero.
The diopter and the power ring are on the looser side with the parallax adjustments. Talking about the reticle next it has only one MOA and one mil reticle. Multi coated lenses provide a very clear and distinct image of your target.
Basic dimensions and features are eye relief- 3.3 inches; field view is up to 100 yards, tube diameter is 30mm and has a black matte finish body.
7. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×44 Dead-Hold BDC
This product from the Crossfire series has a longer eye relief with Dead- Hold BDC reticle. Dead- Hold BDC is good for shooting and hunting at various ranges. Lenses are multi coated for maximum light transmission.
Outer body is made from aircraft grade aluminum and is coated with a highly durable and hard coat anodized black matte finish. Tube is filled with nitrogen and o-rings seal making fog proof, waterproof and shockproof.
Overall it is a good product, offers good performance and is a great value for money. It is highly recommended for newbie shooters since it does not have many adjustments and controls. It is equipped with some accessories like lens covers and a cleaning cloth for the same.
This scope is good for almost all ranges because of its long magnification of 4x to 12x, with an large objective lens of 44mm.
Forget about getting a black eye or anything else that can damage your eyes because this scope has a generous eye relief of 3.9 inches.
8. Bushnell Engage 2.5–10x44mm
The Bushnell is a very popular American brand for good quality rifle scopes. Bushnell is almost comparable to companies like Nikon and Vortex.
This scope is specially designed to take amazing and highly precise shots in low light conditions. This model of Bushnell features two categories in it first is a magnification of about 4-12x with an objective lens of diameter of about 40mm and the second with dimensions 6 – 18x50mm.
Tube is filled and sealed with argon and the body is made with a single piece of aircraft grade aluminum. Optics of this scope is multi coated for maximum light transmission.
This scope is waterproof, fog proof, shockproof and is temperature resistant. Bushnell’s scope is weather resistant and ideal for hunting at all times of the day. Fast focus eyepiece which is 12 inches.
9. Zeiss Conquest V6 3–18x50mm
Well whitetail deer is a tricky animal; you sometimes get some of your best shots after the dark. Zeiss performs flawlessly in low light conditions.
Whitetails are mostly out in the night, zeiss is a perfect pick for hunting whitetails. Objective glass of this scope is high quality and is made up of fluoride for clarity.
Zeiss’s special louted protective coating delivers such a clear and crisp image of the target that it will blow you away. Conquest’s tube is nitrogen purged making it completely fog proof.
Lenses have a protective coating which does not let water stay on it when it pours. Zeiss Conquest is constructed from high aircraft grade aluminum. It is compact, light weight and features a low profile which is perfect for hunting in any terrain.
Ballistic turret with ballistic stop is in this scope for long range hunting. Hash marks which are present on the horizontal and vertical cross hair can be used for target ranging and elevation compensation.
Zeiss Conquest is definitely a top shelf scope. The long magnification range of 4x to 18x is appropriate for all kinds hunting and shooting adventures. Though the objective lens of this rifle scope is a little less in size (diameter is 30mm), so you can have some troubles in low light conditions.
REQUIREMENTS FOR A DEER HUNTING SCOPE
Well, deer is not a small animal; deer hunting requires cartridges that have some power. Here is a small list of cartridges that you can use for deer hunting:
- 6.5 Creedmoor
- .308 Winchester
- .30-30 Winchester
- .30-06 Springfield
- 7mm Remington Magnum
Here are some other characteristics to look for in a deer hunting scope:
Magnification: This is the most important feature in a deer hunting scope. Deer is a really intelligent animal, hence if it senses you near it, it’s going to run, and you do not want that.
Hence a scope which has a good long – range magnification should be your choice. A minimum of at least 9 x magnifications is a must. Anything above 9x should be just enough.
For every 100 yards your magnification should be 1x more, that is if the distance you are hunting at is 400 yards, the minimum magnification of your scope should be 4x.
Objective Lens: Since you are shooting a long distance, that is you are very far away from your target, you need an objective lens which is big in size.
Almost all the scopes in this article have maximum light transmission that means that they are great for low light conditions.
Larger objective lenses allow more light to enter the scope which helps you to see well. But if the objective lens is too big, the scope is going to become heavy and it is going to be difficult to carry it around.
Multi coated Lens: If you do not want light to disturb when you are either hunting or shooting, then your scope lens should be multi coated.
Multi coated lenses give a bright, clear and crisp image of your target without depending upon light. Multi coated lenses are a must for hunters who want to hunt all day. They allow maximum light transmission hence is an absolute necessity.
Durability: Good scopes are made from high grade aircraft aluminum. This prevents all the cuts and scrapes which can occur on any other material very easily.
Aluminum also gives a stylish look and design to your scope. Since you are going to spend a reasonable amount on your scope, you would want it to be long lasting and tough. Also look for a scope which has a lifetime warranty to be extra safe.
Eye Relief: A good eye relief is necessary for the safety of your eyes. A minimum eye relief of about 3.5 inches is a must to keep your eyes protected from injury.
Turrets and reticle: Turrets in your scope should be lockable and resettable to zero. Having an illuminated reticle helps in low light conditions.
VARIOUS IDEAL RIFLE SCOPE FOR DEER HUNTING
Some top picks for deer hunting are:
1. Nikon Buck masters II
Nikon Company is the titan in the optic field industry. Buck masters II is specifically designed to be a mid range rifle scope for deer hunting.
Lenses of this scope are multi coated backed with Nikon’s lifetime warranty, making it a perfect deer hunting scope for the price it is for. It is made for mid to long range shots with a magnification of about 3 – 9x.
2. Vortex Optics Diamondback
Vortex is a very popular scope making company which makes scopes of about all magnifications and fit for all distances. It comes with a good magnification which is suitable for all long range shots. Also, it is backed by lifetime warranty.
3. Primary Arms 4-14×44 FFP Rifle Scope
It has the combination of a great lens and magnification. The optical lens is about 44mm with a magnification of 4 – 12x. This great size of the optical gives a clear and a bright image of the target.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO MAKE THE SMART BUY?
Your shooting experience matters a lot before you buy a new scope. New shooters can opt for simpler and scope with fewer features. It will help you save money. A scope with fewer features will help you get familiar with the controls and turret adjustments.
Talking about turret adjustments, pay attention to reticle movements and accuracy. People who don’t like to hunt in the dark opt for a scope which works well in daylight, this can save you a lot of money.
Warranty is another factor you should keep in mind. Try going for a scope which has a lifetime warranty. Clarity and sharpness are very important but if you have a tight budget go for a scope which has a magnification of at most 10x.
HOW TO CHOOSE SCOPES IDEAL FOR DEER HUNTING?
It doesn’t really matter much what color is your scope, even if it is a simple black, it will do its job just fine. Companies like Nikon and Vortex make affordable and good quality scopes which also have lifetime warranty.
Deer is a kind of animal which is quite active at night, hence an illuminated reticle and multi coated optics are a great combination for your new rifle scope.
Keep in mind which species of deer are you actually hunting, elk, mule, whitetails and deer all require different features in your scope. Though things like a large objective lens and anti glare coatings are a must for every animal.
The ideal length of your tube should be between 30mm to 34mm, large tubes just increase the weight of the scope and not the brightness or clarity of your target.
A scope is a huge investment and you don’t buy a scope frequently, hence please keep these pointers in mind before buying a scope.
Deer without any doubt is a difficult animal to hunt, but with the help of the scopes mentioned below it gets a lot easier. These scopes have a lot to offer and that too for a good price. If you are confused about buying a new scope for deer hunting, read the following reviews very carefully and maybe multiple times if needed.
Rifle Scope For Deer Hunting FAQs
WHAT KIND OF SCOPE DO YOU USE FOR DEER HUNTING?
Nothing is perfect in this world. Every scope has it’s high and low points. Same is true for every rifle scope.
Scopes are different due to many factors, magnification or power, clarity, reticle type, eye relief, range, quality, durability, price range etc. seeing and comparing just one thing would not be enough. When you are looking for a scope it should have at least 3-4 of the above mentioned qualities.
Another money saving option is buying a second hand scope. Though a second hand scope will work as well as a new scope, a person might get discouraged by seeing the used outer body.
Hence if you know that hunting is your thing, buy a new and invest something in your hobby. Above all just do not over buy for your needs.
Many scopes are really good for shooting elephants which are about 150 yards away from you, but if a deer pops up 40 yards in front of you, you will simply waste your time and chance of shooting a deer while adjusting your scope.
Always remember to keep your needs and the purpose of your scope in mind.
HOW TO MOUNT YOUR SCOPE?
Some people like to hire a proper gunsmith to mount their scope but with these 7 simple and easy steps you will be able to mount your own scope. Let’s look how:
1. Match bases and rings: Make sure to select the mounting system that is perfect for your rifle. The diameter of the rings you chose should perfectly fit with your scope.
2. Mount bases: Adjust the base and mount it at a height you are comfortable with. The objective lens should touch the barrel.
Most rings and bases are attached and adjusted with screws; ask any gun shop if you need some help on this. Make it a point to wipe and then dry clean all the surfaces that are all the rings and bases. Check the alignment of the base.
3. Lock them down: Apply some Blue (it is a compound used for scope mounting) where ever needed. Tighten and check the screws at least 3-4 times before being sure about it.
4. Align reticle: Tighten the top half of the rings only enough so as to give the scope some room to move back and forth. When the scope reaches the level of the rifle, keep on rotating the scope until the scope is aligned both horizontally and vertically.
5. Adjust eye relief: Keep adjusting the eye relief until you are sure it has reached a safe limit. Having considerable eye relief is very important to protect your eyes from recoil.
6. Tighten screws: Double or perhaps triple check your scope’s position and then tighten the screws.
7. Bore sight: Adjust the horizontal and vertical axis of your lens to your desired point.
These are 7 easy steps to mount your scope.
WHY DO YOU KEEP MISSING YOUR SHOTS?
There can be many reasons because of which you miss your shots again and again. Some of which are improper calibration, improper mounting of the scope and many more.
There is only one way to find out the reason because of which you are missing your shots and that is to test your scope. Fire a few shots and then check your scope settings.
One of the most common reasons for missing shots is nonexistent or improper sight adjustment. In simple words it means that your scope is not properly adjusted and hence wherever you aim you are bound to miss the shot.
Before ending this I would say that please consider what matters most to you. Ask yourself some questions before actually purchasing a scope, for example, are you on a tight budget? Is magnification something that matters to you the most? Is the scope you are buying too heavy or too long for you?
A scope with less controls and minimum turret adjustments is recommended for amateurs. Make sure you know the terms and conditions of your warranty. A scope is a big investment; you should know everything about the warranty conditions just in case anything goes wrong.
Look for the image quality, usually, in lower quality scopes, at high magnification the image of the target tends to be a little unclear. The best choice when it comes to distance is going for a scope which has a mid range.
These are some small and common pointers which you should look for. Remember that no scope can do it all; but whatever your needs and expectations are, the above list will for sure fulfill them.
Keep reading the scope guide again and again if you are very confused. Make sure you know what species of deer are you actually going to hunt and hence choose the rifle scope accordingly.