Looking for a top-notch long-range rifle scope but feel your choices are limited by the budget?
Well, your search ends here. We know it’s hard to find a rifle scope with just the right features without emptying your pockets. Thus, we have handpicked the five best rifle scope under 500 available on market.
Picking the perfect rifle scope that is durable enough to last a long time can be pretty challenging. Even when you buy one, you might find the reticle too complicated to read.
To help you make the right decision, we have reviewed the top ones available for purchase.
|Vortex Optics Viper 6.5-20×50 Rifle Scope||Check Price|
|Nikon Black FX1000 Rifle Scope||Check Price|
|Leopold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm Rifle Scope||Check Price|
|Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 Rifle Scope||Check Price|
|Leupold 3.5-10x50mm Rifle Scope||Check Price|
5 Best Rifle Scope Under 500
Whether you’re an experienced shooter or an amateur, choosing a suitable rifle scope can be a daunting task. To make your job easier, we have picked the five top rifle scopes to fit your budget.
1. Vortex Optics Viper 6.5-20×50 Rifle Scope
First up on this list is this exclusive model, which is often referred to as the best hunting rifle scope. It comes with a 30 mm main tube that has a hard-anodized finish. This provides a tough coat on the scope making it tough for hunting purposes.
The variable zoom on this scope will surely give you an upper hand when hunting games from a distance. It’s equipped with a Dead-Hold BDC MOA reticle that discards the need to estimate the holdover and windage corrections. Now you don’t have to guess the holdover when shooting from different ranges.
Instead, you can just rely on the smart reticle to get more accurate shots. Moreover, it’s fitted with an additional second focal plane reticles that keep the magnification constant. This is essential because it will help you choose the correct range, and estimate the holdover and wind drift correction more accurately.
The low dispersion lenses are multicoated and of premium quality. They provide remarkable resolutions and excellent color contrasts. XR coatings are used for light gathering, and Armortek coating keeps the lenses safe. You can change the magnification easily using the MAG-bar.
Furthermore, the fast focus feature also enables rapid and precise reticle focus. O-ring seal and argon purge make the scope fog proof and waterproof as well.
- Dead-Hold BDC MOA reticle
- Second Focal Plane reticles for constant magnification
- XR and Armortek coating
- Fog proof and waterproof
- 1-inch eye relief is not enough
2. Nikon Black FX1000 Rifle Scope
This next long-range scope comes with a first focal plane reticle that changes size according to the magnification. With the first focal plane, you don’t have to stress about the power level while operating. The reticle adjusts according to the magnification so that you can maintain a steady aim on a distant target.
Unlike many other scopes, the FX1000 model comes with side focus parallax adjustment. Even when you are an experienced shooter, parallax error can hinder your accuracy. With just the twist of a knob, you can adjust the reticle to fix it on a target at a proper plane.
As it eliminates the parallax errors, you can hit those crucial shots on your target. It also includes high-speed turrets with 25 MOA adjustments per revolution! Integral zero stop swiftly returns the scope back to zero. The turrets are so securely locked that there is an inner lock ring with three additional screws.
It also introduces a modified version of the MOA reticle that allows you to control the contrast of the detailed reticle based on the light conditions. Now you aim accurately in both day and night. More sub-tensions are added to this scope than previous models.
The extra sub-tensions allow you to spot the target more precisely. Furthermore, the scope is protected from moisture by the O ring seal. It also has shock-proof construction that makes it a rugged hunting scope.
- First Focal Plane reticle
- Side focus parallax adjustment
- 25 MOA adjustments per revolution
- Extra sub-tensions
- Mediocre glass lens
3. Leopold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm Rifle Scope
The third addition to this list is this relentless VX-3i model that’s equipped with a Duplex reticle. This is a perfect choice for both experienced and amateur hunters. It is equipped with their very own Twilight Max Light Management System when it enhances the viewing quality in low light environments.
This rifle scope also includes an ion-assist lens coating called Diamond Coat 2. The specialized coating enables high light transmission, which is beneficial to see at night or on a cloudy day. This particular model comes with different types of reticles and even illuminating reticles.
However, the Duplex reticle is preferred for most standard hunting purposes. ¼ MOA finger click adjustments can be chosen based on the windage and elevation of the plane. This helps you hit more accurate shots regardless of the environmental conditions. Being manufactured in the USA increases its reliability.
What makes it even more dependable is the material it’s made of. 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum is used to manufacture this powerful scope. Each model is also punisher tested to make sure it can withstand the harshest conditions and extreme recoil. All these features make this rifle scope durable enough to last a lifetime.
Despite all the impressive features, the main tube is super lightweight. Not only that, but it’s also a hundred percent waterproof, shock-proof, and fog proof.
- Twilight Max Light Management System
- Ion assist lens coating
- Made of aircraft quality aluminum
- Comparatively expensive
4. Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 Rifle Scope
For a low budget scope, the Diamondback Tactical is one of the most detailed and efficient scopes out there. It uses a first focal plane reticle that is mostly used in more pricey rifle scope models. The durable aluminum tube housing keeps the lens from imminent damage for an extended period.
Inside is a 4x optical system that enables you to see with full clarity and enhanced resolution. Elevation and windage turrets allow you to take accurate shots from far away much more swiftly. It also comes with a side adjustable parallax that removes all the parallax errors and helps you make the right shots.
The new EBR-2C MOA reticle gives you more accurate readings of hold-overs and windage corrections. Moreover, it can help you determine the correct range. These features work well together and surely prove beneficial when shooting a moving target.
The reticle, along with the detailed crosshair sub-tensions, were laser etched for maximum precision. It offers the user a perfect balance between accurate aiming and low light performance. Moreover, the hard-anodized finish of the scope allows you to remain camouflaged within the environment.
Moreover, The zoom lens is made of premium components that enable you to fluidly adjust the magnification. A raised rib located on the magnification ring allows you to change magnification instantly when needed.
- Durable aluminum tube housing
- Elevation and windage turrets
- EBR-2C reticle with detailed sub-tensions
- Change magnification swiftly
- Not the sharpest visuals
5. Leupold 3.5-10x50mm Rifle Scope
As the final model on this list, we present you with this 3.5-10x50mm Rifle Scope. It has a matte finish that sets it apart from the others. The 3.5-10x magnification makes it a versatile scope as it’s suitable for both mid-range and long-range shooting. Now you don’t have to buy two separate scopes for different distances.
This model has Diamond Coat 2, which makes it highly abrasion-resistant. The ion-assist lens coating also makes it ideal for scoping in low light conditions. This is because the coating induces higher light transmission and gives you a clearer image in low light.
It’s also equipped with a Duplex reticle that is easy to read, and produces accurate results. The scope comes with a convenient finger click adjustment switch to adjust the elevation and windage accurately. It makes sure the reticle is perfectly aligned so that you make the perfect shot every time.
This particular model is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, which makes it both strong and lightweight. It undergoes rigorous tests to make sure it can withstand harsh amounts of recoil. Lens glare has also been minimized to ensure you get a high-quality image of whatever you’re looking at.
Shooting light ensures extra 20 minutes due to the Twilight Max Light Management System. Moreover, it’s entirely assembled and manufactured in the United States.
- 5x to 10x magnification
- Finger click adjustment
- Undergoes several durability tests
- Doesn’t come with multiple reticles
What to Look for in a Rifle Scope Under 500?
Before you choose any of the rifle scopes mentioned above, there are a few factors you need to know. These factors will determine which model is best suited for you.
For the most efficient rifle scope, you will need a scope that offers full clarity at both low and high magnification. This will not only help you make precise shots but also enable you to determine the wind direction. Wind direction is very crucial when hunting in the wild.
To make sure your visibility isn’t distorted, you also need to pick a lens that has anti-fogging and waterproof characteristics. The lens should also be made of durable material for it to last long. Some models are equipped with lenses that perform well from various ranges.
Some even have light intensifiers that help you see better in low light. The lens coating is also important for both crystal clarity and durability.
A scope with a high-quality body will ensure that it can withstand harsh conditions and still give a flawless performance. The fluid design also contributes to the precision of your aim. There are some models that are coated to prevent water from seeping in. This protects the internal components from damage.
Having a sturdy design will benefit you in more ways than one. Make sure the scope is also lightweight and offers increased maneuverability.
Long-range shooting accuracy highly depends on the type of reticle you use. MOA reticles are mostly recommended for long-range weapons. They are suitable for both elevation and windage. However, if you’re using a scope for long-range, a bullet drop compensator isn’t considered ideal.
Scopes equipped with Duplex reticles are most suitable for this purpose.
There are two different types of focal planes – the front focal plane and the second focal plane. In the front focal plane, the reticle size changes with the magnification, unlike the second focal plane. Front focal plane is more ideal because the hash marks and dots remain unchanged.
The accuracy of scope will often depend on the adjustment range for long-distance shooting. You should pick a model that allows you to adjust the turrets swiftly.
The ability of scopes to automatically correct itself based on the movement of the target is called parallax. Scopes with higher magnification need this feature more than others. A scope with a good parallax adjustment feature will eliminate the parallax error and help make the perfect shot.
Although you barely need to change the focus of your scope after the first time, your scope must include this feature. It determines how sharp your reticle lines look through the eyepiece.
How to Choose a Rifle Scope for Long Range Shooting?
There are certain things you need to keep in mind when choosing a rifle scope for long-range shooting.
- Good Lense-Clarity
First, you need to pick one with a crystal clear lens with a minimized glare. It should enable you to see clearly in both high and low light. Durability is also important, so pay attention to the body as well.
- Material and Reticle Size
Some models made of aircraft-grade aluminum are both strong and lightweight. The next feature is the reticle size. This is extremely pivotal for long-range shooting and will determine your accuracy. Scopes with MOA measurements and evenly placed dots are most suitable. It will let you use holdovers for windage and elevation.
- Large Objective Lense
Furthermore, a large objective lens is often recommended as they offer higher light transmission. This means the visuals are clear and have high resolutions. However, the larger the objective lens is, the higher you will have to mount it. This might decrease your accuracy, so choose accordingly.
For long-range shooting, the magnification power should be kept within 16x. To make sure your scope is more versatile, you can choose a model with different ranges of magnification. Also, pick one that adjusts ranges for both elevation and windage.
- Adjustment Range
For long-range shooting, bullet drop is often an issue. If you have a scope with good adjustment ranges, you’ll be making perfectly accurate shots.
How to Clean Your Rifle Scope?
- Clean Large Particles
To begin cleaning your rifle scope, start by dusting away the larger dust particles on and around your lens. Avoid using a rag as it might leave scratch marks on the lens. You can use a lens duster specifically made for this purpose. To remove the smudges off the lens, you can use a microfiber cloth.
- Use a Wet Microgfiber
Gently clean the top of the lens, without leaving any unnecessary impressions. The microfiber fabric will soak in the minute particles that accumulated on the scope. If you use your scope for hunting, water spots or pollen may also get stuck on the scope. You will need an anti-fog lens, cleaning liquid, and high-quality tissues.
- Drying Off
After pouring the liquid on the tissue, start by cleaning the center in a circular motion. Then gradually clean towards the edges. When all the smudges and stains are gone, use a dry cloth to get rid of any leftover liquid on the lens. Avoid using an anti-dry formulation as most people do.
They can easily dry up on the lens and leave dried up residues that are hard to clean.
How Long Can You Use a Rifle Scope?
The lifespan of a long-range rifle scope will depend on the type of material it’s made of. Most top models are made of aircraft-grade aluminum, which is very tough. These scopes can withstand harsh conditions, and last long even after repeated use.
Armortek coating also ensures that the internal components aren’t harmed. However, the lifespan of your scope will also depend on the type of environments you use it regularly. Most long-range scopes can last up to 7 to 15 years.
Types of Rifle Scope
There are a few different types of rifle scopes, each with their individual specialty. The different types are as follows.
- General Hunting Rifle Scopes
These scopes are suitable for basic hunting purposes. They come normal lenses with a decent magnification of 3-9x. With 3x magnification, you’ll be able to shoot targets in the medium range, and the increased light transmission will make your shots more accurate.
The 9x magnification allows you to shoot distant targets as well. General hunts require a more versatile scope, so low magnification is recommended.
- Varmint Rifle Scopes
These are specifically manufactured for varmint and other target shooting. They not only have high magnification but also have a good adjustment range. It allows you to shoot targets precisely within various ranges. They also include long eye relief and simple reticles.
- Tactical Rifle Scopes
Next up, we have the tactical rifle scopes that come equipped with quickly adjustable turrets. These are often used by military personnel as they are perfect for making instant decisions during combat.
They come with fixed and variable magnification. The turrets are open-style, which allows the shooter to make accurate adjustments instantly.
- Night Vision Rifle Scopes
As the name suggests, these scopes are perfect for spotting your target in the dark. They include night vision lenses that allow you to hunt in low light and even in pitch-black darkness. These are much more expensive and are divided into different generations based on their features.
How Do Rifle Scopes Work?
- Light Transmision by Objective Lense
Rifle scopes portray distant images the same way a telescope does. The large lens, known as the objective lens, transmits light towards the ocular lens.
- Magnification by Ocular Lense
Light is then magnified by the ocular lens, which helps you focus. It tells you exactly where the bullet will travel when you pull the trigger.
It magnifies distant objects to make it look closer to your eyes. The ocular lens is the piece of glass closest to your eyes. However, the magnification can also be controlled using a knob. You can magnify distant objects to up to 80x with a rifle scope.
- Parallax Adjustment
Modern technology has perfected scopes so well that it can remove parallax errors now. This is the error caused by your movement during shooting. The scope tube is the main body of the scope, which includes all the components inside. It’s usually built from aluminum.
There are also additional controls that can alter the scope’s alignment. Windage adjustment alters the horizontal settings while the elevation adjustment changes the vertical alignment.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How does magnification work on a rifle scope?
The power denoted by x represents the magnification of scope compared to the naked eye. A scope with a 4x magnification means distant objects will be magnified by four times. The higher the number is, the better the magnification.
2. Does scope magnification change point impact?
No, it doesn’t work that way on a mechanically sound scope. The point impact remains constant no matter how much the magnification is changed.
3. What does a 3-9×40 scope mean?
In a 3-9×40 scope, the 3 stands for the power of magnification. This means the object appears 3 times as close as it really is. The 9x also stands for magnification by 9 times. This means that the scope has a variable magnification range. The 40 represents the diameter of the lens.
4. Does parallax error affect accuracy?
No, it doesn’t affect accuracy at a short distance. However, at a long distance, the point of impact may change a little bit. Hence, minimizing the accuracy.
5. How much scope magnification do I need?
It depends on the purpose of your scope. 4x magnification is enough for mid-range shooting at 300 yards. 10x magnification is recommended for long-distance shooting.
The aforementioned models are the 5 best rifle scopes you can find on the market. Keep in mind that there are several factors that will determine whether a model is suitable for you or not. Pay attention to all the little details before purchasing. Compare each model with the other to get the best out of your money.