Have you gotten bored of playing with friends or hunting small animals and want to try something new? Do you want to upgrade and start to hunt bigger animals such as deers? Then this article is for you!
Deer hunting has become increasingly popular these days. It has become a fun, and sometimes even competitive, challenge among hunters because deers are exceptionally smart and sensitive towards their surroundings, making it hard to hunt these deers. Deers are intelligent, fast, and sharp. Even the slightest sound of your movements can set them off. They are able to run at high speed just by hearing a minor misstep in your actions.
This makes it hard to hunt deer. But with a great and well-functioning rifle scope, you can easily hunt deers even from afar. The best rifle scope for deer hunting will make your experience in hunting even more fun and extraordinary. With an excellent rifle scope, it will also unleash outstanding performance and give amazing results.
With the guide below, you are able to find the perfect rifle scope for your deer hunting experience.
What is A Rifle Scope?
To put it simply, a rifle scope helps the user to align the barrel of their gun to their target from an extended distance. But you might think, what else can it do and how does it work? To help you understand, we are going to talk about its inner workings and how it works.
The internal function of a rifle scope works similarly to a telescope. There is an objective lens in the front of the scope that enables light to enter the scope body and an ocular lens in the back that allows the shooter to see the sight image. While a focus lens is located behind the objective lens and helps to focus objects in the scope. In between the focus and objective lens contains the erector tube which also holds the magnification lens and the reticle.
The magnification lenses work when the lens moves towards the object when you increase the magnification of the gun. And when you decrease the magnification of the lens, the lens moves closer to the ocular lens. So, the higher the number of the magnification lens, the closer it is to the objective lens and the lower the number, the closer it is to the ocular lens. The reticle assembly is placed in the erector tube.
A reticle assembly is also known as the “crosshairs,” which is used to help aim the rifle at the target. It can be mounted at the front or rear of the magnifying lenses. This can help the users to adjust the image they see as they also adjust the magnification. If you mount the reticle at the front of the magnification lens, this is known as the “front focal plane” scope. Suppose you use this scope; the reticle changes in size as the magnification lens increases or decreases. This keeps the object in the scope the same size even if you increase or decrease the magnification lens. But if you mount the reticle at the rear of the magnification lens, this will be known as the “rear focal plane” scope, which means that the reticle will not magnify with the object in your scope even if the magnification is changed.
Lenses inside the scope are typically coated to minimize light reflection. This determines the size of light able to pass through the optical system and into the eye, producing a brighter image. The interior tube is “purged” and secured to prevent rain and moisture from entering and fogging the lenses.
The body of the scope is what keeps the lenses inside in place. Like the interior of the scope, the exterior also has controls that help make adjustments to the lenses to get a clear view of the object. In this case, it’s a deer.
The front of the scope tube expands to fit the objective lens, and this is known as the “objective bell,” while the rear of the scope extends to accommodate the ocular lens, known as the “ocular bell.” At the same time, the main body tube is the section of the scope between the objective and ocular bells. This is the part of the scope to which the rings are connected to connect it to a rifle. When buying rings to mount the scope, it’s essential to know the main body tube diameter.
There are 2-3 knobs for adjustments on the main body of the scope. On hunting scopes, these knobs are frequently capped, and users may need to unscrew the lid to access the adjustment knobs. The adjustment knobs on most tactical and long-range hunting scopes are conveniently accessible to the users.
On your scope, there are three other essential adjustments. The power ring, which is usually situated directly in front of the ocular bell. This serves as an external control for the magnification lens inside of the scope. An ocular focus ring is often found at the back of the ocular bell, and it is turned to support the user in bringing the reticle into focus. The last external adjustment is the parallax adjustment, which allows the shooter to keep the target and reticle on the same focus plane.
Numerous scopes feature a parallax adjustment, either an external knob on the left side of the body tube or a revolving ring on the objective bell. Although, particular scopes lack an external adjustment and instead feature a pre-set parallax.
List of Best Rifle Scopes for Deer Hunting
Below, we have listed several of the best rifle scopes for deer hunting. It is separated into two categories: budget, high-end, lastly, our top picks.
Best Budget-Friendly Rifle Scopes for Deer Hunting
We have listed 4 budget-friendly rifle scopes that are under $200.
1. Nikon ProStaff 3-9X40 Rifle Scope
The Nikon ProStaff is excellent for deer hunting because it has the right optics for it. It uses a 3-9X magnification range, and its 40mm objective diameter makes it great for poor lighting conditions.
Another feature of the Nikon ProStaff is its nitrogen filling and O-ring sealing, ensuring bright images even during poor weather conditions like rain and fog.
The 3.6-inch eye relief is ideal for a deer hunting riflescope. Additionally, its complete multi-coating that makes the image of the target a higher quality is a massive plus for this scope. Its BDC (bullet drop compensator) reticle can adjust for any elevation changes.
Overall, this deer hunting riflescope is a solid and great scope as it gives you different features that can make your hunting experience better.
2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II gives you the maximum levels of performance and durability. The Crossfire II makes zero sacrifices with its extended eye relief, a fast-focus eyepiece, fully multi-coated lenses, and adjustable MOA turrets.
The Crossfire II hard anodized single-piece aircraft-grade aluminum tube makes this scope extraordinarily reliable and durable. It is also nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed for waterproof and fog-proof performance.
The Crossfire II has a second focal plane (SFP) reticle situated behind the image erecting and magnifying lenses near the scope’s ocular. When you adjust the magnification, the size of the reticle does not change.
This riflescope is a popular all-purpose hunting reticle intended for a wide variety of hunting applications. And with all its available features, it is definitely worth your money.
3. Simmons 8-Point Rifle Scope
The Simmons 8-Point Rifle Scope is one of the cheapest but best rifle scope in this price range. This 8-point riflescope has the most high-quality features of any riflescope in its class. All variants have a full coated lens for a brighter, higher-contrast image, as well as 1/4-moa sure grip audible-click windage and elevation adjustments for easy adjustment.
Another highlighted feature of this riflescope is its TrueZero windage and elevation adjustment mechanism, which stays locked near 0 even under the most challenging circumstances, and the QTA eyepiece for quick target acquisition. And with its 50mm objective diameter, you are able to use it even in poor lighting conditions.
With its sleek matte black finish, this riflescope is also pretty to look at. Not only that, but it weighs about 13.2 oz., making it lightweight and easy to carry.
This 8-Point riflescope is waterproof, fog-proof, and recoil proof, and it provides exceptional accuracy in simple rifle scope and at a fantastic price that won’t break your wallet.
4. Vortex Optics Diamondback
The Diamondback 1.75-5×32 riflescope is one of several configurations available in the Diamondback range and is suited for a big game, slug shotgun, and brush hunting.
With its Dead-Hold BDC reticle, it’s ideal for hunting or shooting at various ranges when estimating hold-over is an issue. Its fully multi-coated lenses provide you with crystal clear, brilliant images throughout the day. And its rapid focus eyepiece enables fast and straightforward reticle focusing.
The only downside of this riflescope is its low eye relief which can be an issue. Despite this, it is a great rifle scope, especially in this price range.
Best High-End Rifle Scopes for Deer Hunting
We also listed several high-end rifle scope for deer hunting at a $200 and above price range.
1. Vortex Optics Viper HS
The Vortex Optics Viper HS is an excellent rifle scope. It can render precise details at various distances, and its BDC reticle is extremely precise and accurate.
Its 2.5-10X magnification range and its BDC reticle make it great for hunting deer. Its innovative optical technology, the XD glass produces a picture that is crisp and clear from corner to corner. XR multi-coated lenses enable you to catch as much light as possible from morning to night. The 4X zoom range will help you see your target from afar.
Lastly, its Armortek coatings are ultra-hard. The scratch-resistant coatings also protect the scope’s external lenses. At the same time, the Argon purging creates a fog-free and watertight environment. The hard-anodized matte black finish is incredibly durable and sleek looking. This is undeniably a great rifle scope for you to test out.
2. NightForce NXS 5.5-22×56
The NightForce NXS 5.5-22×56 is a high-end rifle scope that can assist in long-range shooting. Its 4x zoom ratio has an excellent field tactical scope, multi-coated lenses, and easy-to-use target turrets with a Zero Stop feature at the elevation turret.
The NightForce models offer a wide magnification range, excellent eye relief, and 100 MOA elevation travel. And with its superb resolution at high magnification expands the users’ window of opportunities for long-range shooting. Users of the Nightforce models can now accurately reach distances of 2000 yards and beyond.
It is an excellent rifle scope, and although it may be on the pricier side of the spectrum, it will undoubtedly give you a hunting experience that you won’t forget.
3. Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56 Rifle Scope
The Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56 Rifle Scope is a front focal plane scope whose magnification can be increased to see the deer. It is among the few mil-spec scopes that Leupold Optics still manufactures. It is the epitome of Leupold’s expertise and craftsmanship.
Something notable is that the Mark 5HD is very light when you pick it up. It is noticeably 20 oz. lighter than other rifle scopes in this class. From the Combat Competition Hunter reticle’s versatility to its superior edge-to-edge clarity and extreme low-light performance. The Mark 5HD was designed to maximize the quality and performance of the latest long-range rifles and ammo, with three revolutions of elevation adjustment.
Every Leupold rifle scope is made to survive a minimum of 5,000 impacts on the Punisher. It is tested by the Leupold’s recoil simulation machine and performs from -40ºF to 160ºF. This makes the 5HD extremely durable and reliable. And with its 20 oz. weight, this makes the 5HD one of the best rifle scope you can get.
This is a rifle scope that is worth its price. With its many features, durability, and reliability on the field, it is definitely worth the hype.
4. Swarovski Optik 3-10x42mm Z3 Series Rifle Scope
The Swarovski Optik 3-10×42 is a great rifle scope as it integrates high-quality glass with features often reserved for high-end optics. Its etched glass SFP reticle, ergonomic target turrets, fully multi-coated lenses, and parallax adjustment are among its notable features.
It is also durable and reliable when used on the field as it can withstand -20 to +55 °C weather conditions when using and -30 to +70 °C when it is stored. It also features an extremely low-light efficiency view and it has a crystal clear view from edge to edge.
This rifle scope will definitely not disappoint. It will make your deer hunting experience even more fun.
5. Burris Optics Veracity 5-25×50 Rifle Scope
The Burris Optics Veracity 5-25×50 is a rifle scope with incredible image quality at a large field of view. This rifle scope was mainly developed as a varmint scope, yet it readily doubles as a precise long-range target optic.
The Burris Optics features an improved windage and elevation adjustment that corresponds to the MOA measuring scheme of the reticle. The adjustment is precise, consistent, quick, and straightforward. Furthermore, the ergonomic side focus enables simple parallax adjustment from 50 yards to infinity.
Its high-grade optical glass delivers outstanding brightness and clarity with long-lasting durability. The precision-gauged and hand-fitted internal components include a constant point of impact across the magnification range, despite the shock and vibration.
Lastly, its waterproof, nitrogen-filled body tube prevents internal fogging in the cold and rain making it a reliable scope. This rifle scope is worth trying, mainly because of all the excellent features it provides.
Our Top 3 Picks
We listed our top 3 picks from the list above. We came to the conclusion that these rifle scope are one of the best out of the thousands of rifle scopes out there.
Vortex Optics Crossfire II
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II is one of the best deer hunting rifle scope. It takes pride in its reliable and durable functionality. It uses a 3-9X magnification range, and its 40mm objective diameter makes it great for poor lighting conditions. This rifle scope is simple, quick, and easy to use. It is also under $200 which makes it even more fantastic.
Simmons 8-Point Rifle Scope
For under $200, you can get the Simmons 8-Point Rifle Scope is another great rifle scope for deer hunting. It has numerous features that can make deer hunting fun such as its TrueZero windage and elevation adjustment mechanism and QTA eyepiece for quick target acquisition. This is a rifle scope that can provide you excellent features that won’t break the bank.
Vortex Optics Viper HS
Lastly, the Vortex Optics Viper HS, a high-end rifle scope that is on the pricier side of the spectrum, but will provide you one of the best experiences on deer hunting because it provides you with excellent features such as its 2.5-10X magnification range and its BDC reticle.
How Do You Choose The Best Rifle Scope for Deer Hunting?
Before purchasing a rifle scope, there are a few factors to consider so that you can find the best rifle scope for your deer hunting needs. These factors will help you decide. It is a bit overwhelming at first, but with the right information, you can choose the right and best rifle scope for your needs.
This guide won’t make you an expert, but we are going to give you a thorough walkthrough of all the necessary things you should know when looking for a high-quality rifle scope.
The magnification of the scope is crucial as this will help you magnify an object, in this case, a deer, for you to see the deer closely and clearly.
Magnification does contain a bit of math because its technical specs are something you should check on your magnification lens. This will help you to determine the quality of your magnification lens.
The magnification of the scope is indicated by the first one or two digits in the specs. These are the numbers on the label before the X. When viewed via a 3x scope, the image appears three times bigger than when viewed with the naked eye. But, if you’re looking for a fixed scope, then there will be a single number before the X.
If the label includes two numbers separated by a dash in the specs, then the scope is a variable power optic, which means that you can zoom in or zoom out on your target. For example, a 3-9X scope can magnify three times at its lowest setting and nine times at its highest setting.
When checking for a scope’s magnification setting, something to take note of is that a higher number does not always mean that it is a better scope. This is because it can make it harder for hunters or tactical shooters to find and track a moving target as its field of view (FOV) becomes narrow when the image is magnified.
The objective lens is the glass at the front of the scope. It functions by capturing and focusing light on creating the image you see while looking through the scope. The objective lens is typically bigger than the whole of the scope — particularly on optics with high magnification. With a larger objective lens, the brighter the image, especially in poor lighting conditions.
But, if you choose to use a bigger objective lens, you should be aware that a big objective lens is bulky and heavier. Moreover, it would also require higher mounting rings to accommodate the extra width. Furthermore, it can interfere with your cheek weld and eye position, both of which have a detrimental impact on your shooting accuracy.
The two type of focal plane:
- The front focal plane is when the size of your reticle is adjusted as you magnify it.
- The rear focal plane is when the size of your reticle remains unchanged regardless of any magnification you use.
To put it simply, if you’re a long-range shooter, then you should use a front focal plane, but if you’re not, then it would be better to use a rear focal plane.
The irregularity in the image that you see while looking down the riflescope is known as parallax. When you change your eye position, the reticle moves across the target. As a result, the reticule will not precisely represent the direction your rifle is aiming. This is only a problem in higher magnification scopes, and it becomes much more evident as the magnification increases. This issue can be easily fixed by adjusting the scope.
A scope with a parallax issue can be fixed and adjusted. To address this issue, you have to adjust the parallax adjustment to infinity. Then aim your rifle at your target at a distance, obtain a sight image through the optic and adjust the knob or ring back until the reticle becomes more precise, making it as crisp as you can. Then, lift your cheek off the stock while still looking through the scope and move your eye around.
Finally, eye relief is the distance between the scope’s rear lens and your eye for you to see the full view of the entire image. When your eye is too near the lens of the scope, the image becomes blurry around the borders, and if it is too far away, the image you’ll see becomes a dot in the middle of the lens.
Basically, the greater the magnification of the scope, the less eye relief you’ll get. Your eye relief will be determined by where you mount your scope on your rifle.
It can become a problem with rifles that create much recoil. If your scope does not have enough eye relief, you may hurt yourself and wind up with a black eye.
Scope Acronyms You Should Know
|ACRONYMS||MEANING AND DEFINITION|
Minute of Angle
First/Front Focal Plane
Second/Rear Focal Plane
Field of View
Overall, each scope has its own strengths and weaknesses, making each of them unique. So, just like each rifle scope with its own set of unique features, users must find what rifle scope is suitable and what fits their own strengths and weaknesses for them to have a fun and unforgettable deer hunting experience.
With so many choices to pick from, you must select one that meets your needs and requirements. Take a moment to go through the feedback and recommendations of other experienced hunters.
By consulting with experienced hunters, they would know what’s great and what’s not as they have already had their fair share of experience in deer hunting. Although, you must remember that each hunter has their own standards and needs, which can differ from your own. So, it’s better to ask for their input and do your own trial and error to find which rifle scope is the best for you.
Experience is the greatest teacher, so really take time in choosing, and if you have the opportunity to try a rifle scope before buying it, then that would be better. A tip is that you should not rush when buying your rifle scopes, as some are not cheap. Make sure that the rifle scope you choose will work for you and your rifle.