When you are new to rifle scopes, spending $500 or more on a rifle scope will not be the wisest move, especially in this economy. Fortunately, with $200 or less, you can easily get your hands on a good-quality scope.
In this article, I will give you tips on identifying the top-quality rifle scope under 200 and some 250 dollars. This is in addition to reviewing the best rifle scopes under $200 and $250.
Back in the day, rifle scopes used to cost more than rifles. Today, thanks to advancements in technology, cheap scopes can compete with their pricier counterparts. Nonetheless, when you are looking for a rifle scope under 250, you must take caution. The budget riflescope market is littered with low-quality scopes not worth your time and money. This is why it is important to do your homework before you go shopping for your next scope.
Quick Comparison Of Top 6 Best Scope Under 200 and 250 Dollars
Qualities Of The Best Rifle Scope Under 200 and 250
Riflescopes are one of the most important pieces of equipment when it comes to hunting, shooting, and target practice. Having a scope that is reliable and accurate will make your experience much more enjoyable. That’s why it’s important to do your research before buying.
The best rifle scope under 200 can be identified by several characteristics. These characteristics are;
The first thing you need to consider before buying a rifle scope is budget. You want to get the best quality for your money but at the same time not break the bank – so what should you do? It all depends on how often you use it and what type of shooting or hunting you’re doing.
With less than $200, you can get a pretty good quality scope for hunting purposes, but it will not be a great scope for tactical shooting like we reviewed the best scope under $500. On the other hand, budget rifle scopes are perfect if you hunt smaller animals or birds and don’t need the quality for long-range shooting.
You want a scope that has been made with high-quality materials that will last you many years to come and provide you with the best possible view. Construction is one of the most important factors in deciding what rifle scope would be right for your needs. The best rifle scopes under $200 should be constructed with durable materials and come with ergonomic designs. It should also pack shockproof and waterproof features. You can find scopes with various construction materials, and the most common is made of aluminum. The construction material in scope will dictate the weight, durability, and cost.
Magnification is the third most important factor to consider. The higher magnification, the more you can see in your eyepiece, but a tradeoff between power and field of view must be considered. Generally speaking, an increased magnification will produce less viewing area at greater distances.
If you are looking for a scope for hunting purposes, choose a magnification of 4x up to 10x. Within 3-300 yards, you may want something between 4x to 8x magnification for target shooting.
The magnification power of your rifle scope will vary depending on how far away you intend to shoot and what type of game animal you are hunting for. For larger game animals like deer, coyotes, and elk, the magnification power will usually be in the range of about four to ten times.
Suppose you are hunting for smaller games such as birds or varmints. In that case, your scope may only offer a variable zoom capability with no fixed power setting.
Objective Lens Size:
The size of the objective lens is how much light will be captured by it. The larger the lens is, the more light that will be captured. If you are purchasing the scope for hunting at dusk, you will want a larger lens. The tradeoff with this type of scope is when the light conditions are good, the images may not be as sharp as those from scopes equipped with smaller objectives.
Also, remember the bigger the objective lens, the higher the price.
The objective lens size is how big it needs to be for you to see your target clearly. So this will vary depending on what magnification power your scope offers. Generally speaking, a higher-quality scope with more advanced features will have a larger lens size than those lower-quality models offering fewer features.
Lens coatings can be –
- fully multi-coated (multiple layers of anti-reflective coat on every glass),
- fully single-coated (one layer of anti-reflective coat on every glass), or even
- partial single-coated (At least one of the lenses has a single layer of anti-reflective coat) and
- partial multi-coated (At least one of the lenses has multiple layers of anti-reflective coat).
The type of lens coatings available varies according to the price point you are looking for in your scope.
Generally speaking, higher-end scopes will have more durable and efficient coatings. In contrast, lower-end scopes may only offer single-coated lenses.
The weight of your scope will vary depending on the construction and the number of additional features offered in a particular model. Still, it is an important consideration when deciding what rifle scope you want for hunting or shooting purposes. The lighter, the better because they are easier to carry around all day while in the bush or in the field. Weight is crucial, especially if you’ll be carrying the rifle scope around in a backpack or other gear bag for long periods. You’ll want to find a rifle scope that is lightweight and not clunky when it’s on the gun.
The reticles available can vary depending on the type of riflescope you are looking for and range from thicker crosshairs to even thinner crosshairs. This reticle or crosshair helps highlight your target and is a large factor in determining the accuracy of your shots.
For example, a thicker reticle is useful to see at low light but not effective in terms of accuracy. On the other hand, a thinner reticle is more accurate but may not be as useful to see when the light conditions are low.
The parallax adjustment enables you to tune in your rifle scope so that it can differentiate what’s closer and farther away from you, making for better accuracy on long shots. This will vary depending on the scope you are looking at, but lower-end models may not offer this ability.
Elevation and Windage Adjustment:
The elevation and windage adjustment feature lets you adjust the bullet point of impact for a target based on its distance from your rifle. The alignment is usually measured in MOA or milliradians. This adjustment is very useful for long-range shooting when you need to change the height or direction that the bullet will go.
The size of your scope’s tube doesn’t affect how it shoots. It is just important to know which tube size you are getting to buy a mounting ring that fits. The two tube sizes are 1 inch and 30 mm. If you get a 30-mm scope, you can’t use a mounting ring for the 1-inch scope or vice versa. So make sure that you have the right size before buying it!
First and a Second Focal Plane:
Long-range shooters will want their scopes to have a first focal plane. This helps them be more accurate because the reticle is always the same size relative to the sight picture. If you are a long-range shooter, the chances of having the first focal plane rifle scope under $200 are very low. Because of the price, you may only be able to find second focal plane riflescopes.
Excellent Light Transmission
This refers to the amount of light the scope is able to transmit and how bright the images appear. Light transmission depends on the size of the objective lens. Therefore, every good quality scope needs to have an excellent light transmission for all time use.
The best value-for-money rifle scope under $200 needs to have finger-adjustable turrets. This means turrets that can easily be turned without the need for any tools. This feature makes it easy to use in the field.
Any good rifle scope that is worth its name should be tough enough to withstand different weather conditions. Thus, the best rifle scope under $200 should be durable and tough.
When buying a rifle scope, there are some important factors to consider in addition to its characteristics.
Check These Important Checklists
- One is the cost of the scope, whether it fits your budget or not
- Second is the lens; the lens on the best scope under 200 should be multicoated to give you a clearer and brighter image
- Other features such as a bullet drop compensator will improve the performance of a rifle scope.
NB. By the way in our OutdoorEver we have reviewed the best scopes for 30-06 you can check the list If you are looking for the best scopes for 30-06 under $200. It will be worth reading besides this review.
Best Rifle Scope Under 200 Reviews
So which are the top rifle scopes under 200? Below are the reviews of six rifle scopes that I have personally used or tested and believe are the best in the under 200 price range category.
Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescopes
The Crossfire line of scopes from Vortex has some of the best scopes I have ever used, and the Vortex Crossfire II is no exception. I have used these same scopes for my 17 hmr. With a rather low magnification of 2-7X, this scope has a great field of view of 42 feet at 100 yards.
Like all other scopes in the crossfire series, this scope is manufactured from aircraft-grade aluminum. This means that not only is it tough and durable, but it is also lightweight. In addition, fully multicoated optics give you a bright and clear optical experience. On the other hand, the V-Plex reticle on this scope is designed for various hunting applications. Also, the resettable turrets are easy to use in the fields.
- The scope has a wide field of view
- It is a lightweight and durable scope that will serve you for long
- It measures 11.3 inches long and thus does not take up much space on your scope
- Has a long eye relief
- It is an affordable scope
- The tube is waterproof and fog proof to handle weather conditions
- The back of the scope is extra-large, and thus you might require higher mounts
- 32 mm objective lens
- 2-7X magnification
- 42 feet field of view
- 3.9-inch eye relief
- One-piece tube
- V-Plex Reticle
Thanks to its long eye relief and wide field of view, this Vortex Crossfire is fit to be a hunting scope. It is thus one of the best rifle scopes under 200 dollars. In summary, this Crossfire is ideal for hunters of all kinds. Additionally, it can be a great replacement scope for a high-end scope.
Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm BDC
This Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm BDC is in our top list of best scopes under the 200 price tag. Only because pricing is under $150, this riflescope offers some of the great features that other of its rivals can’t.
Such as it produces extremely bright pictures and has long eye relief. It also packs an amazing reticle, which they call Bullet Drop Compensator reticle. More interestingly, it is waterproof and fog proof.
This riflescope comes with spot-on ballistic match technology which allows you to find the possible aiming targets on the BDC reticle at different yardage as per your specific ammo and load.
This, combined with the 40 mm objective lens, gives the scope impressive light transmission and image brightness. Additionally, this scope has finger-adjustable turrets that are easy to turn even when you are in the fields.
One of the best things about this scope is that it comes with a 100-yard parallax setting, which eliminates parallax for precise shooting.
- Has a waterproof and fog-proof construction
- Can maintain consistent eye relief even with heavy cartridges
- The turrets are easy to turn
- Comes with a variable magnification that offers a generous field of view
- Some people have complained about the turrets not being of sound quality
- BDC reticle
- 3-9X magnification
- 40 mm objective lens
- 100-yard parallax setting
- 1-inch tube
If you are looking for a deer hunting scope under 200 or less than the 150 price tag, I would advise you to select this one. I am sure you will not regret having this. Also, this scope falls under one of our best scopes for 30-06 under the $200 price range.
Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 Dead-Hold BDC Reticle
Vortex launched the Diamondback line of rifle scopes as a means of offering high-quality scopes at affordable prices. The Diamondback Dead-Hold BDC reticle scope offers a unique balance of affordability and quality. With a variable magnification of 4-12X, this scope has the kind of reticle you expect in a high-end scope.
To make things even more interesting, this scope has a large objective lens of 40 mm. The latter is responsible for the scope’s amazing light transmission. In addition, Vortex equips this Diamondback with fully multicoated optics.
Similar to all other Diamondbacks, this scope is manufactured from high-quality aluminum. This means that not only is it lightweight, it is also durable and tough.
- Comes with removable lens covers and lens cloth
- It has a matte finish that makes it inconspicuous in the forest
- A precision-glide erector system allows for easy adjustment of the magnification in the field
- Offers fantastic brightness thanks to its objective lens and fully multicoated optics
- It is fog proof thanks to its tube being purged with argon
- It works great for long-range shooting
- It does not have a great eye relief
- 4-12X magnification
- 40 mm objective lens BDC reticle
- Argon purged tube
- Precision-glide erector system
- Aluminum construction
As already mentioned, this Vortex Diamondback is ideal for long-range shooting. This is especially thanks to its variable magnification and easy-to-use and fast-focus eyepiece. As a result, it qualifies as the best rifle scope under 250 dollars in the Diamondback series for all intents and purposes.
Nikon P-TACTICAL .223 3X32 MATTE BDC CARBINE
Third, on my list is a rifle scope that I consider to be one of the best scopes for 200. And although I have never been a fan of a fixed magnification rifle scope, I must admit this particular Nikon scope is of good quality. Its 3X fixed magnification is not a deal-breaker, especially when you think of the generous field of view you get from this scope.
To complement the fixed 3X magnification, Nikon equips this BDC scope with a 32 mm objective lens. And since it is a Nikon scope, it featured the tested and proven BDC reticle with a bullet drop compensator.
But that is not the only amazing feature of this scope; at the top, you get tactical turrets that turn without the need for tools. Also, I was surprised that this Nikon model has fully multicoated optics for a scope in its price point.
- It is an affordable scope
- Comes with a generous field of view
- The scope maintains zero when dismounted and reattached
- It is compact and lightweight
- The scope works great for short-range shooting
- It has a fixed magnification, which might be unappealing to some people
- 32 mm objective lens
- 3X fixed magnification
- BDC reticle
- Fully multicoated optic
- Tactical-style turrets
The Nikon P-223 is designed for short-range shooting. And since it comes with a bullet drop compensator, it can be an ideal scope for hunting. In fact, I dare say it is the best hunting scope under 200 from Nikon.
Bushnell 3-9×40 Riflescope with DZ 223 Reticle, Black
The Bushnell 3-9×40 with DZ 223 Reticle riflescope has a rugged feel to it that I rather like. One of the best tactical scopes under 200, this Bushnell creation has a lot to offer. To start with, the scope comes equipped with a BDC reticle that is specially calibrated for the 223 caliber bullet. The target turrets are also specially designed to be easy to turn.
Despite its price tag, this scope features fully multicoated optics. In this regard, you get bright and super clear images. Furthermore, one of the unique things about this scope is that it is capable of long-range shots thanks to its 3X to 9X variable magnification. On the other hand, the eyepiece is designed to be easy to focus on.
- It is specially calibrated for 223 cartridges
- It is an affordable scope considering its features
- The unique eyepiece is easy to focus
- The scope is made of high-quality aluminum, making it durable and lightweight
- The target turrets turn effortless and require no tools
- Fully multicoated optics guarantee images of high contrast and brightness
- Weighing 16.9 ounces, this scope is quite bulky compared to some of its competitors
- The fast-focus eyepiece
- 3-9X magnification
- 40 mm objective lens
- 223 BDC ballistic reticle
- Fully multicoated optics
- Target turrets
Thanks to its special calibration, the Bushnell 3-9×40 Riflescope with DZ 223 Reticle, Black is one of the best muzzleloader rifle scopes under 200. Additionally, there are not many 3-9X scopes that can compete with this Bushnell creation at its price point. Therefore, this is the scope for target practice. However, some may feel that it is a bit too much for hunting due to its weight.
The budget scope market is littered with all kinds of scopes. While some are of good quality and get the job done, others can be a nightmare to use. Thus, you have to choose wisely when it comes to buying rifle scopes in the under-200 budget segment. Furthermore, the scope you purchase should match its intended purpose. In conclusion, the above-reviewed scopes can be a great addition to your collection or can be great as first-time scopes.
About The Author:
Lake Streeter, A Gun enthusiast, and loves to hunt in the middle of the wood. Always check the latest hunting gears out in the market and try to share his honest opinion with the audience in OUTDOOR EVER.
Last update on 2023-12-05 / Paid links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API