Best Rifle Scope Under 500

Best Rifle Scope Under $500

You can expect a good optic and sighting system in this price range, the scope functioning is also better. Scopes mentioned in this article are the best rifle scope under $500 and will be good for shooting up to 600 yards. Let’s dive right and see what you deserve for $500!

Well something a $500 rifle scope can guarantee is quality and performance obviously which will be according to your hunting and shooting styles. You should expect a high quality and a high performance scope at this price. Most scopes in this category are for long range shooting but you can get some good short and medium range ones too.

Basically scopes in this category do not have your basic magnification range that is 3-9x and they do not even have an ultra magnification range, but still the scopes in this price range are good for long range shooting and hunting.

Every beginner and pro hunter or shooter will tell you that they have used a rifle scope in this price range. But if you are just starting your hunting adventures this price range is definitely a splurge for you.

Best Rifle Scope Under $500 Quick List

Product ImageProduct NameCheck Price
Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8X24
Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10X40
Nikon M-Tactical .308 4-16X42
Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 EBR-2C MOA
Athlon Helos BTR 6-24X50 MIL
Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x50mm Riflescope

Best Rifle Scope Under $500

Stated below are some of the best rifle scopes under $500. These rifle scopes are chosen after extensive research, they are equipped with some of the best features you can expect from a rifle scope under $500.

1. Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8X24

Vortex is a brand which never fails to surprise its customer, this rifle scope by Vortex is no less. It has a magnification range of 1x to 8x, with a decent eye relief which will never damage your eyes.

This scope is one of those few scopes which works well even at extreme magnifications, that is, your image will not be a blur or unclear at 1x or 8x. It can be used for any range, long, medium or short.

Battery of this scope will work up to 10,000 hours, at full brightness it will power up till 150 hours. Vortex’s strike eagle works really well when mounted on correctly.

Reticle of this scope turns from red to black at maximum brightness and is resettable to zero.

This rifle scope made by Vortex is very compact and user friendly. All its controls and adjustments are specified in its booklet that is provided with its box. This scope is a very good quality scope for the price it is for.

This Vortex optic is perfect for both tactical hunting and shooting. Flip-up caps provided in this scope protect the lens from dust and moisture making it fully waterproof, shockproof and fogproof.

Pros

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Price 
  • Fast target acquisition

Cons

  • No mounting is included in this scope
  • Unforgiving eye box at maximum power

2. Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10X40

Leupold manufactures scopes which are all rounder and can be used by all types of hunters and shooters. The Twilight Max Light Management System (which gives clear and contrasting images) and the Diamond coat 2 (which gives clarity and maximum light transmission) are present to enhance your viewing experience by providing maximum brightness at all times.

In this scope there are multiple models available, which have different types of reticles and glass qualities, hence you can choose the best fit according to you.

Don’t worry about taking this scope in bad weather because the Twin Bias Spring Erector System makes it totally shock proof. For waterproofing and anti fogging, the tube of this scope is purged with a mixture of gases like argon and krypton.

This is an excellent scope for all types of hunter and shooters whether beginners or experienced. This scope comes with an American style eyepiece which looks at your target and never lets you miss a target.

Pros

  • Excellent light transmission making it great for low light hunting
  • Excellent coating quality and glass quality
  • Multiple models are available
  • External lenses are protected with a diamond coat
  • Fast focus eye piece

Cons

  • Rings are not provided 
  • Small field of view
  • Reticle is not illuminated

3. Nikon M-Tactical .308 4-16X42

Nikon makes great optics which have great lenses and glass quality hence this scope’s optics are fully multi coated and are great for low light hunting.

It has a generous eye relief of 3.7 inches which means that it can be used with a gun which has moderate kick back. Turrets of this scope are fully resettable to zero which allows you to set your windage and elevation according to your target and then go back to point zero.

The best feature is that the turrets of this scope are automatically resettable to zero which means that you do not have to manually press a button to reset them to zero.

The magnification range of this rifle scope is 4x to 16x, with that a good focus and parallax removal system is a must needed and this scope by Nikon has it. The outer body of this scope is made from aircraft grade aluminum hence durability and toughness is not at all compromised. The 30mm long tube can handle all types of recoils and bumps which in turn keeps you safe during your adventure.

Pros

  • 95% light transmission
  • Fully weather resistant (water proof, shock proof and fog proof)
  • Amazing turret adjustment system

Cons

  • Little tricky for high power or high velocity ammo
  • Lacks 1x (not that great for short ranges)

4. Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 EBR-2C MOA

Nothing can beat Vortex when it comes to quality and performance. This Vortex scope will not disappoint you in any way. This scope is highly recommended for low light hunting because of its huge objective lens, the glass has extra low dispersion which increases the resolution and gives a crisp and clear image of the target.

Optics is fully multi coated with anti reflective coatings to provide maximum light transmission. First focal plane reticle present in this scope gives you a constant ranging at all magnifications.

The outer body is made from aircraft grade aluminum and has a hard anodized finish. This rifle scope has a comparatively simple design and controls when compared to other scopes in this article, hence it is highly recommended for beginners.

Though it has all the features of a good scope and for a good price, so nothing from quality to price will be compromised. It has a vast magnification of about 6x to 24x with a large objective lens which has a diameter of 50mm.

It is a lightweight and a compact scope with a first focal plane reticle. the only downside of this scope is that it does not have a zero stop feature, which for sure would have been a cherry on the top, but overall it is a recommended scope for beginners and amateurs.

Pros

  • Completely weather resistant (shock proof, water proof and fog proof)
  • Equipped with precision force spring system and precision glide erector system
  • Fast focus eyepiece 

Cons

  • No zero stop feature

5. Athlon Helos BTR 6-24X50 MIL

Athlon is a fairly new player in the game of optics and rifle scopes when compared to brands like Vortex and Leupold but it is no less.

It has a high magnification of 6x to 24x with a glass etched mil reticle. The only problem with such a high magnification is that the image of your target gets a little blurry above the magnification of 20x, so be careful when you are using this scope above the magnification of 20x.

This scope lacks an extra glass which is used to correct the image after a certain magnification, in this case it is 20x. It has a side focus and adjustable parallax removal system which is correct up to 10 yards. The inner tube is purged with a combination of argon and nitrogen which renders this rifle scope totally fog proof.

Reticle type is the first focal plane hence you can change the magnification according to your target which means that you can increase or decrease the magnification according to your target. Also the reticle is illuminated which means that this scope is perfect for low light hunting.

The material which it is made up of is T6 6061 aluminum which provides exceptional strength. This scope has a combination of illuminated reticle along with a big objective lens (diameter 50mm), hence it is the best for low light hunting and shooting adventures.

Pros

  • Very durable
  • Best for night hunting

Cons

  • Lacks extra glass treatment

6. Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x50mm Riflescope

Leupold is a longtime manufacturer of rifle scopes and related products. This scope by Leupold has a large objective lens which is 50mm in diameter with a generous eye relief of 3.5 inches.

It is a great rifle scope for low light hunting and shooting activities because of its large objective lens, multi coated lenses which have a scratch resistant diamond coat on them and a magnification of up to 10x.

It has an adjustable zoom which can be manually controlled. This zoom also takes care of various factors like field of view, movement of your target and the distance between you and your target, hence this feature improves accuracy.

There are three types of reticle available in this scope and those types are duplex, boone and crockett, optics are fully multi coated, the outer body has a black matte finish and the parallax setting is about 150 yards.

This rifle scope can be used for target shooting, varmint hunting, big game hunting and tactical use. This scope made by Leupold is an all rounder scope and can be used by beginners and can be even used by experienced hunters.

It has some great features like; a magnification range of about 6x to24x. This rifle scope does not have a lot of turret adjustments or controls which are to be mastered hence it is a great choice for beginners.

Pros

  • Excellent quality of glass and coatings
  • Multiple models are available
  • Fast focus eyepiece

Cons

  • Reticle is not illuminated
  • Rings are not included

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE RIFLE SCOPE UNDER $500?

You can expect a magnification range of 9-16x from rifle scopes of this price range. This magnification is great for long to medium range shooting and hunting adventures.

Along with magnification look for a generous eye relief, exit pupil and diameter of the objective lens. Your objective lens should have a diameter of at least 40mm. A diameter of 40mm will ensure good light transmission and you will be able to hunt or shoot during low light conditions.

The objective lens of the rifle scope should have anti reflective coating for maximum brightness. Other optics of the lens should be multi coated with good quality glass which is long lasting and durable.

Strength is another criterion which matters the most. Your new rifle scope should be made from high quality aircraft grade aluminum. It should be weather resistant that is, it should be fog proof, waterproof and shockproof. It should have a good lifetime warranty because you are going to use your new rifle scope in rough conditions and it is bound to have scratches on it.

Dimensions also matter a lot. Your new rifle scope should be manageable and not too heavy. A very heavy scope will put a burden on you. You should know what kind of animals you are going to hunt. For example, for hunting large animals, the rifle scopes are a little big in size and the cross hair that the scope has, should have a particular design that they are aligned in.

The eye relief that your scope must have is a minimum of 3 inches. 3 inches is a generous eye relief to avoid all the pain and aches that you could experience with an eye relief less than that.

Reticle is also very important to consider. In all cases, like for long, medium or short range shooting or hunting a BDC reticle works just fine.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO MAKE THE SMART?

Look at different brands and what they are offering for different prices. Different brands offer different features and characteristics. Spending $500 on a rifle scope is not a joke. So you should expect some quality and high performance from your scope.

The objective lens of your scope should be multi coated to prevent all the scratches and cuts it can get from usage.

Turret systems are pretty tricky to learn and master, hence choose a rifle scope with a simple and an easy to master turret adjustment system. Your turrets should be resettable to zero and should have knobs for windage and elevation.

Scopes should be equipped with tactile adjustment knobs also. The parallax error on your rifle scope should be less. Parallax error basically means the error you face at a high magnification. At a high magnification, the image of your target sometimes becomes a blur which results in you missing a shot.

Look for a focal plane as well. There are two types of focal planes: first focal plane and second focal plane. First focal plane allows you to aim and see better when you change your magnification, which allows you to see better when you either increase or decrease your magnification. Second focal plane is usually recommended for rifle scopes with fixed magnifications.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST RIFLE SCOPE UNDER $500?

Apart from the outer appearance of the scope and its brand, there is a lot you have to consider before buying a new scope. 

Glass Coatings: The objective lens of your scope is coated with a certain type of glasses. These glasses should be completely anti reflective and of high quality. Since you are paying almost $500 for your new scope you should expect fully multi coated glass of high quality.

Durability: Do not even think of settling for less when you are paying so much. At this price range, you can have the best quality.

The tube of your scope should be filled with a combination of gases like krypton and argon or it should be filled with nitrogen to make it completely fog proof. The outer body of your scope should be completely water and moisture resistant.

Warranty: Look for warranty on your new scope. The warranty should cover for the glasses and for the outer body as well.

Sometimes while hunting or shooting the outer body of the scope gets some scratches or cuts, this can make the scope less attractive and presentable. Hence the warranty on the scope should cover everything.

The objective lens and the multi-coated glasses of your new rifle scope can sometimes get cuts or scrapes, hence this can hinder your aim and you will miss shots because of this. Read the terms of the warranty well before buying the scope.

FAQs

What should be my magnification choice fixed or variable?

Magnification basically means how much can you enlarge or diminish your target while shooting or hunting when compared with naked eye.

While using a variable scope it is better and recommended to start with a lower magnification because the higher magnification can narrow or lessen the field of view and also minimize the light entering your scope, this will make it almost impossible to hunt or shoot your target in the dark.

There is no such problem with a fixed magnification but fixed magnification means that you cannot change your magnification according to your target.

What should be my field of view?

Field of view means that how much view you can cover in a single glance. So this means that the wider the field of view the better. Magnification and field of view are inversely proportional; it means if your scope’s magnification is high its field of view will be less. Hence the field of view completely depends upon your rifle scope’s magnification.

What should I know about my scope’s objective lens?

The bigger the objective lenses the better will be the image quality of your scope. Big objective lens means more light will enter your rifle scope which means that your scope will work better in low light conditions. Your objective lens should be at least 40mm in diameter.

But be careful not to go for a very big objective lens because a big objective lens will increase the weight of your scope.

What reticle type should I consider buying?

There are many types of reticles out there. There is a type of reticle for every condition. So if you like low light shooting and hunting then go for an illuminated or glowing reticle type. For long range it is recommended that you go for tactical reticle.

Again a lot of factors are taken into consideration before buying a reticle. The place where you are going for your adventures, your shooting and hunting range and what kind of animals you are going to hunt.

Cleaning and maintenance of your rifle scope.

Get to know about the cleaning and maintenance shops around your place. Know more about their seasonal discounts and offers and adjust yourself according to them.

If your scope has some external patches, corrosion signs, cracks, bruises or scratches then check the warranty and get it replaced. You can get rid of corrosion with a little gentle scrubbing.

Remember never to touch your scope’s lens with bare hands. It can cause scratches and smudges on your lens which can be very difficult to clean. Invest in some affordable lens cleaning lens kits.

To clean the smudges on your rifle scope you can use a microfiber cloth and gently clean your lens. Please be gentle since it can damage the lens.

Remember to check the turret adjustments and caps of your scope and fix them on their place if they are out of place.

CONCLUSION

The market has a lot to offer you. From amazing appearance to lifetime warranty everything is out there. The real question is what is best for you? Which rifle scope is that, which will suit you the best? Now that is where you jump.

You should know about what is best for you and what is not. Pick an easy to control rifle scope if you are a beginner. Hard to master turret adjustments and controls can be a headache and can stress you real bad.

Though remember that the turrets of your rifle scope should be easily resettable to zero. The rifle scope should have knobs on the side to adjust and control windage and elevation. Mounting your scope should be an easy task, if it is not it can be very time consuming and troublesome. The o-rings present in your rifle scope help you to mount your scope faster, so make sure that your new rifle scope has them.

Choose the type of reticle that suits you the best. There are different types of reticle, first focal plane, second focal plane, BDC and illuminated.

First focal plane reticle helps you to see and aim better when you are changing your magnification, which is it helps you see or aim well when you either increase or decrease your magnification.

The second focal plane is usually recommended for fixed magnification, which is where you cannot change your magnification according to your target. Though getting a second focal plane reticle is not recommended because you cannot aim or see well with it.

The BDC reticle is usually for long range shooting or hunting experiences. The illuminated reticle type is for hunting or shooting in low light, basically illuminated reticle helps you see better.

The parallax error on your rifle scope should be very less for precision and accuracy. Parallax error basically means the error that comes in when you shoot or aim at long distances. Hence for maximum precision and accuracy the parallax error should be very less.

Again remember to just keep these points in mind, and go for what suits you the best. Happy hunting and shooting!

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