If you can’t properly see your target, you won’t be able to shoot at it. That is why getting a good rifle scope is important.
Riflescopes can vary quite considerably in price, and rather than just looking at what the latest fancy tech has to offer, it’s much more sensible to set a budget limit first and then look into what’s the best rifle scope you can get for that particular budget.
And you’re in luck! Not just because there are loads of great rifle scopes out there that you can get for less than $200, but also because we’ve been checking them out and have hand picked our top 5 favorites to show you.
All of them have come from the bestseller lists with online retailers, and our reviews are coming up very shortly.
Following on from that, we then have a buying guide for you, which highlights some of the key points you might want to think about before you buy your rifle scope.
By learning what to look for in your rifle scope, you should be able to zero in on the best deal.
Then we’re going to top that off with a section where we answer some of your most frequently asked questions.
Off we go...
Top 5 Best Rifle Scopes Under $200
OUR TOP PICK
The Diamondback second is a well-built scope, designed to handle the wear and tear of regular hunting or days of shooting.
The shape of the scope promotes shock absorbance. The outside of the diamondback has a unique finish that not only aids the scope to absorb shock but it also helps to camouflage the scope and prevent the dreaded scope shine.
This scope is available in four different configurations, which provide all of the benefits of the Diamondback with flexibility. All four configurations come with variable power magnification. The configurations start at 1.75-5x32 and go up to 4-12x40.
These configurations are a dead-hold BDC with two magnification options and the V-Plex model that also comes with two different magnification options.
The BDC offers a longer sight range and has been designed with an all-purpose range shooting in mind. The V-Plex, however, is designed to be a hunter's best friend.
This is the second focal plane scope, hunters will find this feature particularly useful. The Diamondback also features an Argon purged and o-ring that fully seals the scope. Due to this the Diamondback is waterproof and is protected from any fogging or condensation inside the scope.
The lens itself has been given a multi coating treatment. This makes the lens scratch proof.
The color provided by the coating helps the user to see during all daylight hours, from dusk to dawn and prevents any reflection from the lens.
This is a lightweight lens that is easy to travel with. It is scratch proof and reinforced, making it the ideal hunting companion, particularly when there is a lot of tracking involved.
What initially drew our eyes to this scope was the thousands of 4+ Star reviews this scope has online.
It's not easy to average a 4.5-star review on Amazon, especially with over 1000 reviews. The more reviews we read the more we knew we had to try this scope out and we have no regrets.
- Sturdy build
- Camouflaged body
- Multiple options and sizes available
- Amazing price
- Multicoat lens protection
- Power variable
- Short Warranty
This scope is for the gadget heads. Or for those of you that want to carry a piece of kit that does pretty much everything apart from shooting bullets.
The Pinty Rifle Scope is a 4-in-1 rangefinder riflescope, a green laser sight, and a red/green dot sight. You read that right… It's hard to believe that you can get all of that for under $200.
Let's start with the rifle scope.
This is a variable scope with magnification that can be adjusted from X3 all the way to X9. The rifle scope comes with built-in red and green illuminations with 5 brightness settings that can be easily adjusted.
Its lens comes with a high-quality multi coating that prevents scratching. There is an airtight O-ring seal on the scope, and it is filled with nitrogen to prevent fogging or condensation build up inside the scope.
The scope is dense but compact. It comes with standard 22mm rails that allow it to be fitted to most guns. This is a four-in-one 3-9x32 scope. It comes equipped with a Rangefinder reticle. The scope does require batteries.
The Pinty also comes with a reflex sight. It has unlimited eye relief as well as brightness control. It also comes with four different types of reticles. This reflex sight also requires batteries.
The green laser point reaches up to 300m (980 ft). The laser is AIII class and is mounted about both the scope and the reflex sight. This component also requires batteries.
With this scope, you really do get a lot for your money. It's well-reviewed and we agree with the users.
If you don't have a reflex sight or laser pointer and want to pick them up for a good price then you may find it worth sacrificing the scope quality and picking up this fella.
Not that the scope on this is bad, it's just not the best on our list. But it very definitely is the best value for money on this list.
Our other minor gripe with this scope is that everything is battery powered, so if you pick it up you will have to get into the habit of carrying around spare batteries with you.
- 4-in-1 machine
- Rifle scope with up to X9 zoom
- 5 brightness settings
- Reflex Sight, also with brightness settings
- 300m green laser pointer
- 22mm tracks
- Amazing value for money
- Scope falls short of the others on this list
- Everything is battery operated
This is the second Vortex Optics scope on our list, if we're honest we could do a whole Top 10 just on this company.
The reason the Diamondback beats the Strike Eagle is due to the fact that the Diamondback offers both range and hunting options. The Strike Eagle on the other hand is geared just towards hunting.
Like the Diamondback, the Strike Eagle comes in 4 different configurations, a BDC3 in two sizes and an EBR-4 with two size options.
All versions are variable scopes, that offer up to X6 zoom. The scope also comes with a brightness adjustment system, with 11 different settings. This system is battery-powered.
Like the Diamondback, this had a multi coated lens that prevents scratches and helps visibility in low light.
The Strike Eagle has the same O-ring waterproofing system as the Diamondback and is completely waterproof and free from fogging of the lens. The Strike Eagle has a matte finish that prevents scope shine.
- Lifetime Warranty
- 4 size options, 2 configurations
- Multi Coated lens
- Second focal plane scope
- X6 variable zoom scope
- 11 levels of brightness
- Matte finish
This is one of the more expensive scopes on this list but it still falls safely in our $200 budget. This is a nice option that is aimed at hunters. It ticks all the boxes but doesn't provide many extra perks like the scopes about it on this list.
Firstly, this scope only comes with one configuration. However, this scope has variable magnification from X3 to X9 zoom. The rail on the bottom is 22mm and will fit on most standard rifles.
It is a stocky scope and fairly shockproof. The body, however, does not have a matte finish, so it is quite shiny.
This scope has Bushnell's Dusk and Dawn Brightness (DDB) multi coating on the lens, which allowed the user clear vision from dawn to dusk. This scope is also fitted with an airtight O-ring. The scope is designed to be waterproof and with no fogging of the lens.
This scope has a very short range of eye relief, and its warranty is almost as short.
Finally, let's talk about our favorite feature on the Bushnell - the fingertip adjustable elevation system. With this super-sensitive system, you can keep up with whatever is happening around you, with the flick of a finger.
However, if you're looking for a solid option to take down to the range with you, you can't get much better than this.
- DDB (Dusk and Dawn Brightness) multi coated lens
- Waterproof and fog proof (dry nitrogen filled)
- Fingertip elevation adjustment
- 22mm rails
- Zoom from X3 to X9
- Only 3.3-inches of eye relief
- Short warranty
- No matte finish
We had to add this wild card to our list, as it comes at such an unbelievable price - it's less than half the cost of everything else on this list.
This isn't the flashiest scope on our list, but it does the job, and for the price, we can't complain about that.
This is a waterproof scope that has a waterproof coating on both the scope body and the lens. The body also has a non-slip grip. This rifle is designed to perform well on hunts during any weather.
This scope doesn't come with many other features but it performs well enough to be a valuable addition to your hunting kit. And for the price, you can't really turn your nose up at it.
- The price
- Matte, super grip surface
- Waterproof and fogging proof
- Does the job
- Not flashy features
Best Rifle Scopes - Buyer's Guide
As promised, here’s a little info on some of the things you might want to think about before buying your rifle scope under $200.
The magnification you should go for depends entirely on how you use your rifle. If your usual targets are small game, or you’re keeping a rifle for homestead defense, then you only need to be able to see about 100 yards or so. In this instance, a magnification of 1 - 4x would be best.
If however you like to hunt large game in wooded areas or on mountains, then you might want to be able to see about 200 yards in front of you, in which case, you’d do well with a magnification between 5 – 8x.
For those who like to hunt in fields or deserts, however, then you may want to hit a target that’s over 200 yards away, in which case, we can recommend a magnification between 9 - 12x.
There isn’t really a right or wrong reticle, to be honest.
You should simply go for the one you think is best for you.
We recommend that you go for a scope with fully multi-coated lenses because they decrease surface reflectivity and therefore allow greater optical through-put across the entire visible light spectrum.
Low Light Performance
If you like to hunt game at dawn or dusk, as many hunters typically do, then you may be interested in a rifle scope that offers good low light performance.
First Focal Plane vs Second Focal Plane
We would recommend that you go for a rifle scope with a second focal plane rather than a first focal plane.
Not only are the second focal plane ones more affordable, but they don’t obscure your view.
Fixed vs Variable
A riflescope with fixed magnification cannot be adjusted, however, a variable scope will allow you to adjust the levels of magnification on your viewfinder.
We find there is no one size fits all answer for this question. This choice will depend both on the quality of the scope in question and your personal style of shooting. If possible, we recommend renting/borrowing both types to work out which you prefer.
The length of eye relief required will depend on your shooting style. The term 'Eye Relief' refers to the farthest distance one can see down the scope from, you shouldn't have your eye directly on the scope whilst shooting.
If you are interested in using your rifle for long-distance shooting you will need longer eye relief. This is because the kickback is great on long-distance guns. The opposite is true for close-range shooting rifles.
If you're lucky to live in a hot and dry state then this may not be a big issue for you. But for the rest of us, not having a waterproof scope severely restricts the days we can shoot on.
We would always recommend getting a waterproof scope, then you're prepared for any weather.
If you’re very observant, you may have noticed that most of the rifle scopes in our top 5 picks come from one brand, Vortex Optics.
This was not deliberate, but we did find that amongst the best selling rifle scopes, Vortex offered the best features in this budget range. Vortex Optics has been around since 1986 and are both American owned and Veteran-owned.
No matter which brand you pick, you should always check in advance how well-reviewed their customer support services are, and what warranties they offer on their products.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below we have put together the answers to the Riflescope questions we get asked most often.
Are Rifle Scopes Legal for Civilians in the USA?
Yes, it is legal to use riflescopes in the USA. If you are traveling to hunt you should research the local laws to be on the safe side.
There are some higher-tech scopes which are legal to buy, but illegal to use when hunting in some states.
How Do Rifle Scopes Work?
Riflescopes allow you to see further than the naked human eye can. They work in a similar way to binoculars, with two sets of magnifying glass.
Some scopes come with adjustable magnification. They are particularly useful when hunting, as they help the shooter to spot well-hidden game.
Do Rifle Scopes Work?
Yes, they do. They are not all made equal though.
Can Riflescopes Go Bad?
Sadly the answer to this question is yes. There are many different ways scopes can go bad, as they are made up of many different elements working in tandem.
Sometimes, finding the issue and repairing it is an easy process. Other times you may need to replace the scope completely.