Guns and Shooting Online
Recommended Riflescopes

By the Guns and Shooting Online Editorial Staff

Over the years we here at Guns and Shooting Online have had a reasonable amount of exposure to a fairly wide assortment of scope brands and models. This little piece is an attempt to list the scopes that we feel confident about recommending. As we continue to test new scopes we will endeavor to keep this list updated.

Please don't write and tell us that we failed to include a model that you particularly like. There are scope lines that we have not owned or reviewed, and therefore about which we have not formed an opinion. Scopes not listed here are not necessarily inferior. In some cases they are omitted simply because none of us have had sufficient (or any) experience with them.

For the purposes of this article we are going to divide the various rifle scope manufacturers' lines into four basic categories: "Five-Star," "Four-Star," "Three-Star," "and "Two-Star." A "Plus" (as in "Four Star Plus" or "Two Star Plus") indicates a product at the top of that category. These categories range from the very best (and most expensive) premium models to the least expensive models that we feel we can recommend for even the most undemanding applications. Within each category the brands are simply listed in alphabetical order.

Note that these "star" categories are not absolute. The best Four-star Plus scopes push the Five-Star lines hard in both optical and mechanical quality, and the best Three-Star Plus lines are hot on the tail of some of the Four-Star models. There are "sliders" out there in scopeland that could reasonable be included in either of two categories.

Both common sense and economic reality suggest that a Two-Star scope that is considered appropriate for use on a Remington 770 or Stevens deer rifle would not be recommended for use on a Weatherby Mark V or a fine custom built rifle. Rifles in the upper price classes naturally deserve four or five star scopes. Likewise, a scope purchased for a rifle that will be shipped halfway around the world for an African safari should reasonably be of higher quality than a scope intended for a rifle used only on local day hunts.

For a list of riflescopes by price class, see the companion article "Riflescopes by Price Class."

Five-Star Scopes

  • Leupold VX-6
  • Schmidt & Bender
  • Swarovski Z5, Z6
  • Zeiss Victory series

Four-Star-Plus Scopes

  • Bushnell Elite 6500
  • Leupold VX-3, FX-3, VX-R
  • Sightron Series III (SIIISS)
  • Swarovski Z3
  • Weaver Super Slam

Four-Star Scopes

  • Bushnell Elite
  • Leupold VX-2, FX-2
  • Minox ZA
  • Nikon Monarch 3
  • Pentax Lightseeker
  • Sightron Series II Big Sky (SIIB)
  • Vixen Sport Optics line
  • Weaver Grand Slam
  • Zeiss Conquest

Three-Star Plus Scopes

  • Burris Fullfield E1, C4
  • Bushnell Legend Ultra HD
  • Leupold VX-I, FX-I, Mark AR
  • Sightron Series II (SII)

Three-Star Scopes

  • Burris Fullfield II
  • Bushnell Trophy XLT
  • Leupold Rifleman
  • Nikon Buckmaster
  • Redfield Revolution
  • Sightron SI
  • Weaver Classic V-Series and K-Series, Rimfire

Two-Star-Plus Scopes

  • Nikon ProStaff, Rimfire
  • Pentax Gameseeker
  • Redfield Revenge

Two-Star Scopes

  • Bushnell Banner
  • Mueller Optics line
  • Simmons Simmons ProHunter, 44 Mag
  • Weaver Kaspa

Now, hopefully, you will not feel compelled to write a letter to the editor to ask what we think about the "Brand-X Super Scope." We reiterate, if it's not listed here we either don't care for it or don't know enough about it to have formed an opinion. In any case, the scopes that are listed here represent a reasonable assortment and range of prices from which to choose. Good luck and good shooting!

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