Cheap does not always translate to inferior quality. And this is true when it comes to rifle scopes. As such, not every $300 scope is of inferior quality. Some of the scopes in the under $300 market offer great quality.
However, finding the right scope that offers the right balance between quality and price is not easy. The reason being scopes in this price point vary when it comes to construction material, focal plane position, and magnification. All these things contribute to whether a scope deserves the title of the best or not.
So where should you start your search for the best rifle scope under 300 dollars? In this article, I have compiled a list of 7 scopes that are sure to excite you. But first, let’s have a quick comparison of the seven.
Quick Comparison of Today’s Top Rifle Scope Under 300 Dollars
Last update on 2023-09-09
Just because you are spending $300 on a scope does not mean you should compromise on quality. On the contrary, it should be of exceptional quality and durable, especially if you are looking for the best deer rifle scope under $300.
Also, it should be able to withstand recoil for any rifle – from the most powerful deer hunting rifle to squirrels hunting air rifle meaning it should be shockproof.
In essence, it should be able to meet your needs. To help you understand how the characteristics of the best rifle scope under 300 below are things to consider.
Factors To Consider When Buying A $300 Scope
The first thing you should do when selecting a rifle scope is to determine your needs. How often will you be using it? What kind of shooting are you doing? What’s the range of your target? The answers to these questions will help narrow down the best scope for you.
For example, if your target is within 500 yards or so and most of your time at the rifle range is spent plinking with friends, then there’s no need to spend more than $300 on a new scope. If, however, you’re looking for something that can reliably take shots out past 1000 yards in variable light conditions (e.g., hunting), then spending more than $300 may be worthwhile.
What are some criteria we should consider when buying a scope?
The number one reason we buy rifle scopes is to be able to have a clear sight of a target. And the one thing that helps us do this is magnification. So how much magnification is ideal for a $300 scope?
Given that scopes in this price segment are budget scopes, don’t expect a whole lot of magnification. However, this is actually a good thing as scopes in this price point are best suited for close to the medium-range shooting of roughly 300 to 500 yards.
To get a clear sight of any target from such a range you need a magnification of between 3 and 9x. This way you get a good balance between magnification and field of view. Higher magnification will result in a narrower field of view, which is not what you want.
The objective lens is the diameter of the front optic. The larger it is, usually means more light can enter and give you a brighter view with less distortion or blurriness in your sight picture. Plus, for a rifle scope that has an adjustable magnification range then this will also allow more light to come into the scope unit at lower magnifications when there are fewer optical lenses through which to direct incoming light.
larger objective lenses gather more light and will typically offer brighter images with less distortion at high powers so these are better for low light situations.
For experiencing a brighter image on your scope, higher-quality lenses are necessary along with the good quality objective lens. Also, look for the scope in which glass is scratch-resistant and waterproof.
I recommend buying a scope that has precise and versatile reticles, such as the Mil-Dot or MOA style because it makes long-range shooting much easier.
Also, The BDC reticle is probably the most popular type of reticle, especially among Nikon fans. For a mid-range scope, a basic BDC reticle will do the trick. Thus, you do not need to shell out more cash for a scope with a Christmas tree reticle.
Illumination will depend on the quality of lenses on the scope and the size of the objective lens. For the hunting with 30-06 cartridge you can mount these 30-06 riflescopes, Or else I recommend a 32 mm or 40 mm objective lens. To improve the illumination go for scopes with fully multicoated lenses.
The eyepiece of the rifle scope:
A fast-focus eyepiece is a nice touch because it allows you to quickly focus on your target even it’s moving.
Exit pupil is the diameter of the light beam that reaches your eye from an object in low-light conditions (at night). A scope with a larger exit pupil will let you see more detail at nighttime than one with small exit pupils.
The rifle scopes have two main types of Eye relief – fixed or variable. Generally, Fixed eye relief means up to 24 inches whereas Variable offers 12 inches minimum but can go as far out as 40 inches or more depending on the model variation and quality level.
Turrets are the knobs that allow for adjusting the magnification or power of the scope, and they should be easy to use and adjustable in increments of either ½ MOA (minute-of-angle) per click or ¼ MOA per click. Turret adjustments are the most important factor in a riflescope since it determines how accurate you can shoot from different angles. Without turrets, there is no way of adjusting elevation or windage on the fly effectively. So check that the turrets are easy to use, positive in their movement, and adjustable.
The best riflescopes should be waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof. It’s also a good idea to get one that is nitrogen-filled so it doesn’t change the internal air pressure.
Apart from these factors, there are other factors to consider, which are;
- For a $300 scope stick to a second focal plane reticle as front focal plane reticles are ideal for long-range shots.
- Also, consider how easy it is to adjust the scope in the field, a good rifle scope regardless of the price should be easy to focus and adjust
Top 8 Best Rifle Scopes Under 300 Dollar Reviews
Below are the reviews of the top 8 rifle scopes under $300. I have selected these scopes based on their optical performance, durability, magnification as well as illumination.
Best Mil Dot Scope Under 300: athlon optics argos bTR riflescope 6-24 x 50 first focal plane
The Athlon Optics Argos BTR Riflescope 6-24 x 50 First Focal Plane (FFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated APMR MIL Reticle, Black is an excellent riflescope that I have been using for a few months. The glass of this scope is crystal clear and the reticle is well calibrated to be very accurate at all ranges of magnification. If you are looking for a great quality long-range scope for hunting or target shooting this will not disappoint.
The first focal plane reticle of this scope makes it easy to make adjustments for bullet drop and windage. The reticle is illuminated so you can see the aiming point in low light conditions, but there are also several brightness levels that allow me to use this scope all day long without being blinded by heavy sunlight.
This reticle is designed to be very accurate at long and mid ranges shooting. The APMR IR MIL reticle enables me to quickly range targets and holds for windage. The illuminated 18 mil span cross lines with 0.5 mil hash marks make it easy for me to quickly and accurately lock onto the target, as well as easily track moving targets.
This scope is very rugged being able to withstand the recoil of most rifles, but it’s also lightweight so I don’t get too fatigued after a long day shooting on the high mountains. The scope is well balanced, which makes it easy to use the rangefinder without moving my head from side to side while aiming.
The tube is constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum and has a black anodized finish. Also, the scope is waterproof, shockproof, fog-proof, and offers complete protection from scratches and abrasions.
The only downside I found on this scope is the throw lever is tough to move. And honestly don’t expect performance like the SWAROVSKI OPTIK from this budget constraint scope.
But, For the price, this is a great scope for any shooter looking to get into a long-range shooting that wants an affordable optic with all the bells and whistles of more expensive models.
Leupold VX-Freedom 450 Bushmaster 3-9×40 Riflescope
The Leupold VX-Freedom 450 Bushmaster 3-9×40 Riflescope is a great scope for deer hunting. It is lightweight and waterproof. The Duplex reticle makes it easy to sight in your rifle at different ranges, and the ballistically matched bullet drop compensation elevation dial optimized for .450 Bushmaster means you can shoot with confidence knowing that every shot will be on target. If you are looking for an affordable scope that is perfect for long-range shooting, this one might be right up your alley!
And the cherry on top of the cake is its brand. Leupold is a great company that has been producing high-quality optics for over 100 years. And they are committed to delivering excellence in performance and customer satisfaction.
The 1/4 MOA finger click adjustments enable you to have more control over your rifle and it is a lot easier to adjust the windage or elevation when you want.
The Leupold VX-Freedom 450 Bushmaster scope has everything I could ask for in an optic. It is lightweight, waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof – every feature you need in a hunting rifle scope!
The problem I faced with this scope is the number of clicks you need to make in order to adjust. I would also like it if it was a little bit more affordable because It’s still pretty expensive for some of the budget-conscious buyers.
But for less than $300 bucks, this scope is a perfect balance between price and quality.
WHO SHOULD USE THIS SCOPE? Leupold VX-Freedom 450 Bushmaster rifle scope is best used for long-range shooting or hunting. It features precision adjustments which make it more accurate when you need it the most! The Leupold brand also provides a good warranty period for their products.
Best .308 Scope Under $300: Primary Arms SLx6 1-6x24mm
In this section, we would like to introduce the Primary Arms SLx6 1-6x24mm SFP Gen III. This riflescope is designed for 5.5, 5.45, and .308 caliber rifles. For that good reason if you have an AR platform rifle grab this scope; without any second doubt and thank me later.
Yeah sure, you can name lots of scopes that are outstanding but for the money, this scope is #1 at this tight budget. Especially if you want to get the best .308 scope under the 300 price point.
This scope is fog proof and IP67 certified waterproof. The build quality of this scope is sturdy enough and can name as a beast.
The glass is dang sharp and crisp clear, For aiming their patented ACSS reticle excellent. By the reticle, it is easy to see and use. Well about the accuracy the chevron allows you for precise shooting … BOOM it’s a bullseye.
I use this scope on my American defense scout and PSA 16″ build and honestly speaking, I couldn’t be happier enough with this product.
At the time of writing this review Pricing under just 300 USD is one of the greatest deals right now on the market.
- Eye Relief Low: 3.50 in / High: 3.30 in
- FOV : Low: 110.00 ft / High: 19.30 ft
- Magnification: 1-6x
- 1/2 MOA
- Second Focal Plane
- For a quick shot at 400 yards or 15 yards, it is the best.
- Amazing ACSS reticle.
- Crisp clear glass.
- Chevron center point helps tremendously for precise shooting.
- Easily can be used with no illumination.
- Smooth magnification right.
- not recommend for long-range shooting such as 600 yards.
- cheap covers come with it – which is actually not a big deal with the scope performance.
Finally, if you are looking for the best rifle scopes under 300 dollars compromising some of the drawbacks, and live with not suitable for long-range precise shooting then grab it.
Nikon P-Tactical .223 BDC 600 Riflescope
There are three scopes that have the P-223 designation, and of the three the Nikon P-223 600 with a 4-12X configuration is ideal as a long-range rifle scope under $300.
Being a .22lr long-range scope, this riflescope comes with a 40 mm objective lens and fully multicoated lenses. These two combine to give you clear and bright images both at night and during the day. While it uses the same BDC 600 reticle as the 3-9X P-223, it is more accurate and precise, and longer.
In particular, this scope gives you accurate and precise shooting for up to 600 yards. Thus, with it you can shoot at targets as close as 100 yards and as far as 600 yards. And that’s not all; the Spring-loaded zero-reset turrets make it easy to adjust while out in the field.
- BDC 600 reticle
- Aluminum housing
- Fully multicoated optics
- The zero-reset turrets are spring-loaded making it easy to adjust
- Comes with fully multicoated optics that take in up to 98% of light for brighter and clearer images
- Has a reticle that changes shade based on brightness making it easy to use both at night and during the day
- This is relatively cheaper compared to its competitors that offer similar features
- Only works best with the AR 15 rifle. Check out our budget scope for ar 15 recommendations.
This P-223 is the long-range version of the popular 3-9X P-223 also from Nikon. Additionally, this new scope is designed for the AR-15 platform and use with the .223 Rem round. Therefore, if you are looking for a long-range rifle scope for your AR-15 that does not cost a lot, this Nikon P-223 model is the scope for you.
Nikon PROSTAFF 5 BDC Riflescope
I recently tested the Nikon PROSTAFF 5 BDC on a Remington. The scope proved to be a great accessory for the rifle. Weighing 17.2 ounces and measuring 13.6 inches long, it is not the lightest scope out there. However, it does not take up a lot of space on your rifle, which compensates for its relative bulkiness.
What I really loved about this scope is how versatile it is thanks to its 3.5X to 14X magnification. With this kind of magnification, I could hit targets from a range of 100 yards and a range of over 600 yards. The quick focus eyepiece was a great piece of equipment for bringing the reticle into focus whenever I needed to. Similar to other Nikon models, this PROSTAFF has a spring-loaded zero-reset turret for easy adjusting in the field.
- 4-inch eye relief
- 1-inch tube diameter
- Adjustable parallax
- BDC reticle
- Fully multicoated optics
- The lenses on this scope are bright and give a clear view of your targets
- Comes with a quick focus eyepiece, which makes adjusting the objective lens easy
- It is an affordable scope compared to some of its pricier competitors
- It does not take up much room on your rifle
- It has a bullet drop compensating reticle
- The lens covers are not adequate at covering the lenses
When it comes to long-range rifle scopes at an affordable price, you can never go wrong with this Nikon PROSTAFF. In summary, this scope is designed for long-distance shooting. Also, its high-quality glass lenses make it a great scope for all-day hunting. In other words, there is no time of day you cannot use this scope.
Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane, 30mm Tube Riflescopes
Looking for precise long-range shooting optics but don’t wanna break the bank – Well Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane is my straightforward recommendation under 300 price tag. It would be your best guilt-free buy under 300 bucks if you want a scope for long-range shooting.
For over 1000 yards of shooting especially for coyote hunting my go-to scope is Crossfire II. This scope is perfect for AR 10 & AR 15. Under the 300 price range, this is one of the good scopes for a 6.5 Creedmoor.
When I zoomed the scope all the way out I was impressed by its amazing clarity. Brother and sister honestly this scope has a sharp clear imaging functionality. Also with both eyes open it is very easy to get a good image of the target.
It has long eye relief quality turrets. Easy to adjust and moreover it can produce a pretty clear picture even in the evening hog or deer hunting.
- Adjustable objectives
- Holds zero
- removable sunshade
- easy to install
- clear image quality
- Little bit bulky for me
If you are a vortex lover and want to get great long-range shooting optics under 300 bucks then it will worth your money for sure.
Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm
The Leupold VX-Freedom is the kind of scope you would expect to find in the under $300 price segment. It has all the features of an affordable short-range scope. As such, it comes with a variable magnification of 3-9X, which is sufficient for hitting targets from up to 400 yards. And while it has a smaller objective lens compared to some of its competitors on this list it produces some pretty bright images.
The scope’s 40 mm objective lens performed surprisingly well in low light conditions. Where this scope really dominates is in regards to weight. Weighing only 12.2 ounces, this scope feels like a feather when compared to some of its competitors.
To add the cherry on top, this scope comes in not one but three reticle variants. Thus, you can choose among duplex, Duplex CDS, and Tri-MOA reticles. For fast focusing of the reticle, you get a fast-focus eyepiece.
- 1-inch tube
- Fog proof and waterproof construction
- ¼ MOA finger click adjustments
- It is relatively cheaper scope than most of its rivals
- Comes with premium optics that guarantee 94% light transmission
- Comes in a diverse selection of reticle
- Has a generous eye relief for comfortable viewing
- Comes with the Leupold lifetime guarantee
It is only ideal for short-range shooting
This scope’s features point to it being designed for short-range shooting. Therefore, this might not appeal to long-range tactical shooters. Instead, this is a scope designed for target practice and eliminating pesky varmints in your garden. I have used this scope on my 17 hmr for shooting varmints. Also, thanks to its ease of use and lightweight construction it is ideal for light caliber rifles.
Mueller Target, Black, 8-32 x 44mm
At first glance, the Mueller Target looks long and cumbersome. However, although it is long measuring 16.2 inches, it is lighter than most scopes as it weighs 1.6 pounds. Similar to the Trophy Xtreme, this is a 30 mm tube with an affordable price tag. And thanks to its design, it is easy and fast to focus the eyepiece while out in the fields.
Furthermore, its 8-32X variable magnification gives you exceptional clarity and picture detail. With this magnification, it is easy to spot small targets from long distances. And for maximum brightness, the scope is equipped with a 44 mm objective lens.
One of the exceptional things about this scope is its optics. Mueller went all out in designing this scope’s optics. With it attached to your rifle, you can clearly spot objects even at maximum magnification.
- 4-inch eye relief
- 30 mm tube
- Waterproof and fog proof construction
- 16.2-inch length
- The high variable magnification remains consistent throughout
- Has high-quality scope that offers clarity and brightness in all light conditions
- The turrets are easy to adjust and easily click into position
- It costs less than other scopes with similar features
- The interior lens surface is not coated, which causes glare
It is hard to classify this scope either as a long or short range. As such, this scope is for anyone looking for a versatile scope that works well for long and short-range shooting. While it might not be the best rifle scope for 300 WSM, it is a great scope for the average shooter.
Bushnell Trophy Xtreme X30 6-24×50 Scope
30 mm rifle scopes are rare and expensive. But thankfully, Bushnell thought it wise to produce an affordable 30 mm scope for long-range shooting. Dubbed the Bushnell Trophy Xtreme X30, this scope is the very embodiment of affordable quality.
Coating its lenses is an HD rain guard coating that guarantees clear and bright images regardless of the time of day. As if that’s not enough to get you excited, the scope boasts of an extra-large 50 mm objective scope. This objective lens is backed by a variable magnification of 6 to 24X. And while it is not the lightest scope out there, it is shockproof meaning that it is compatible with most rifles, including heavy recoil rifles.
Moreover, the scope measures 14 inches meaning it will not take up a lot of space on your rifle. The fingertip adjustable windage and elevation adjustment make it easy to use. On the other hand, its fast-focus eyepiece makes it easy to focus on targets.
- Fully multicoated optics
- 30 mm tube
- 3.6-inch eye relief
- DAO Lr 800 reticle
- Shockproof, waterproof and fog proof construction
- Lets in plenty of light for bright and clear images in all light conditions
- Has a beautiful matte black finish
- Comes with a long eye relief for comfortable viewing
- Holds zero
- It is easy to adjust thanks to its fast-focus eyepiece
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- This scope is heavier than most of its competitors
According to most online reviews, this is a value for money scope. And while it is a little bit bulkier than other similarly priced scopes, it is well worth it.
In essence, this is the kind of scope you will want to get for all your big game hunting purposes. It comes with a large objective lens and a variable magnification making it arguably the best hunting rifle scope under 300.
When you go rifle scope shopping, you will be bombarded by a wide array of options, from scopes under 1000. However, the right scope will most likely be in the under 300 categories. Some of the scopes on this list will give you an idea of where to start.
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.