Scopes: Best hunting scopes & optics 2019
|Nightforce NX8 1-8×24 F1 Riflescope
We like how this low-profile scope can be used in a variety of situations. With a smaller objective lens, the field of view is larger at close distances. And with a magnification range of 1 to 8, hunters can sight in animals easily at close range and also have the ability to reach out and get the crosshairs on big game hundreds of yards away. It’s a good combination to use in places where heavy growth inhibits sight lines and in places where you might bump into a moose or bear at close range. We also like that it is compact and light, coming in at 8.75 inches and just over a pound. Like all Nightforce products, it’s as tough as they come.
“If you’re a predator hunter looking to build a close-range rifle or shotgun setup, another versatile scope option is Trijicon’s MRO, which stands for Miniature Rifle Optic,” shared Scott Haugen. “The MRO is a red-dot sight that’s rugged, lightweight, and waterproof. There’s virtually no tunnel vision commonly seen with other red-dot sights, thanks to a shortened optical length. Mounting the MRO is simple; treat it just as you would a riflescope, including the bore sighting and actual sighting-in process. What I love about the MRO is its infinite eye relief, which makes it easy to quickly acquire game that’s moving off to the side, or at unexpected angles to your shooting position. The MRO has eight brightness settings and the 2032 battery offers five years of continuous use. The bright, 2-MOA dot is crisp and the ideal size to optimize target acquisition, and it’s also parallax free.”
|Vortex Diamondback 3-9×40 Riflescope
Contributing Editor Bjorn Dihle shared this, “I used this scope on my .338 in 2018 and was impressed. It was the easiest scope I’ve ever sighted in and didn’t move during the entire season of grizzly-country wanders and deer, moose, and goat hunts. Don’t be skeptical because of its affordable price. This is a great scope.”
|Vortex HD LH 3-15×42 Razor Light Hunter (LH) Riflescope
Contributing Editor Casey Dinkel had this to say, “In the past six years I have utilized Vortex Optics on over twenty fly-in hunts throughout Alaska. They have withstood everything Alaska and I could throw at them and more. The 3-15×42 Razor HD LH is no exception to that rule. Currently mounted on a Kimber Mountain Ascent chambered in .300 Win Mag, the 3-15 Razor provides the option of an ultralight optic without sacrificing lens quality. The Razor boasts some of the best glass that money can buy at an affordable price. Additionally, its 3-15 magnification range works well for up close situations when hunting brown bears or zooming in for a longer-range shots on a Dall sheep or mountain goats. The Razor’s simplistic parallax adjustment has also come in handy when shots past 300 yards are necessary. Last but not least, this scope will also accept a custom dial turret for any hand-loading long-range shooters, like myself. Everything about this optic is built specifically for the big-game hunter. If you’re looking for a lightweight, bulletproof, crystal-clear optic that won’t break your wallet, I would recommend taking a hard gander at the Vortex Razor HD LH 3-15×42 riflescope.”
|Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 CDS Riflescope
Associate Editor Scott Haugen shared, “I recently put this scope, with a duplex crosshair, on my wife’s .260 custom Nosler rifle, which was shooting 125-grain Nosler Partitions. We gave the folks at Leupold our specific ballistics and what yardage the rifle was zeroed in at, and they made us a custom dial turret. The custom dial, dubbed the CDS (Custom Dial System), is installed in the top turret position once the rifle is sighted in. The CDS eliminates the need for holdover, as it’s a turret that’s marked with specific distances out to a maximum yardage. Simply sight the rifle in as usual, replace the top turret with the custom dial, and you’re ready to shoot. It worked perfectly, as my wife made a clean, one-shot kill the first time out, on a blacktail deer. The VX-Freedom 3-9×40 CDS scope is not only the hottest scope in the hunting world right now, it’s one of the most affordable, high-quality scopes in the industry.”
|Bushnell Elite 20-60x80mm ED 45 angled Spotting Scope
This is a full-size spotter that performs well above its price point. The ED glass makes for crystal-clear viewing across the entire zoom range and the angled eyepiece is comfortable for long days glassing the countryside. We spent hours evaluating bears on distant hillsides and we were seriously impressed with how this spotting scope performed. One feature we came to appreciate was the long focus knob that made it easy to operate with gloved hands and provided precise control. The Elite comes with a built-in sunshade to knock down annoying glare and heat waves. Anyone looking for a quality spotter that won’t break the bank should take a serious look at the Elite.