Recommended Hunting Riflescopes

By the Guns and Shooting Online 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 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 an economy class 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.

Five-Star Scopes

  • Leica line (all)
  • Leupold VX-6 series
  • Meopta MeoStar series
  • Nightforce NXS Compact line
  • Schmidt & Bender line (all)
  • Sightron SV series
  • Steiner Nighthunter series
  • Swarovski Z series, X series
  • Vortex Razor HD series
  • Zeiss Victory series

Four-Star-Plus Scopes

  • Bushnell Elite 6500
  • Leupold VX-3 series, FX-3, VX-R, VX-5
  • Meopta MeoPro series
  • Sightron Series III (SIII)
  • Steiner GS3 series
  • Weaver Super Slam

Four-Star Scopes

  • Burris Veracity series
  • Bushnell Elite 3500 and 4500 series
  • Leupold VX-2, FX-2
  • Minox ZE-i line, ZV line
  • Nikon Monarch series
  • Sightron Series II Big Sky (SIIB)
  • Weaver Grand Slam
  • Vortex Viper series
  • Zeiss Conquest

Three-Star Plus Scopes

  • Burris C4
  • Bushnell Legend Ultra HD
  • Leupold VX-I, FX-I, Mark AR
  • Minox ZV line
  • Sightron Series II (SII)
  • Vortex Strike Eagle
  • Zeiss Terra series

Three-Star Scopes

  • Burris Fullfield E1 series
  • Bushnell Trophy Xtreme
  • Leupold Rifleman
  • Nikon Prostaff 5
  • Redfield Revolution
  • Sightron Series I (SI)
  • Vortex Diamondback series
  • Weaver Classic V-Series, K-Series

Two-Star-Plus Scopes

  • Bushnell Trophy series
  • Konus Konuspro Plus series
  • Nikon Buckmaster II
  • Redfield Revenge
  • Simmons 44 Mag
  • Weaver 40/44 series

Two-Star Scopes

  • Bushnell Banner
  • Konus Konuspro series
  • Mueller Optics line
  • Simmons ProHunter
  • Vortex Crossfire, Copperhead
  • Weaver Kaspa series

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 is 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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