It’s no secret that hunting is an expensive hobby. Shelling out for the endless gear and apparel can make a serious dent in your budget and leave little for a scope. However, this shouldn’t mean compromising on quality. There are a variety of great rifle scopes on the market that suit a low budget.
You can even find some name-brand products in this price range! Now, of course, it’s tedious to hunt for an affordable rifle scope under 200 that ticks all the boxes, so we’ve done it for you. We dug real deep into the market and managed to pull out 5 of the best rifle scopes under $200.
Top 5 best rifle scopes under $200
|Vortex Crossfire II
|Best low-light scope
|Vortex Crossfire II
|Best short-range scope
|Bushnell AR Optics
|Value for money
|Athlon Optics Neos
|Best at the lowest price
Whether you’re a beginner looking for some entry-level stuff or an advanced hunter just looking to expand his collection of scopes, you will find what you’re looking for right here.
1. Vortex Crossfire II 4-12×44 Rifle Scope
Every hunter has heard of Vortex optics. It’s an American veteran-owned business that’s been dedicated to providing quality optics for over 30 years.
When one buys a budget scope, the optics are bound to be his biggest concern. With this scope, you needn’t worry about the quality of your glass. The lenses are fully multi-coated to boost light transmission.
You can sight your target with utmost clarity without having to worry about any pesky glare. The fast focus eyepiece allows for quick, accurate shots. I was also quite happy with the generous eye relief.
The dead-hold BDC reticle is always one of the best features of any Vortex optic. It’s irresistible to any hunter like me that hates guesswork. It’s placed in the second focal plane. The magnification range is pretty versatile at 4-12x.
The windage and elevation turrets come with caps and are easy to use. I can reset them to zero after a sight-in. Precise, repeatable, and crisp.
The body has a great finish to it. It’s built with aircraft-grade aluminum and is nitrogen purged to ensure ultimate durability. On top of that, it comes with a lifetime warranty.
However, the scope can get a little heavy.
2. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 1in Riflescope
Leupold is a popular brand that has over 100 years of experience in this field. 100% of their products are made in the US.
The Leupold VX Freedom is equipped with a Duplex reticle that is thicker near the edges and thinner towards the center to let you focus efficiently. The lenses meet military standards with their scratch-resistance.
They’re coated with Leupold’s signature Twilight Max Light Management System that has the ability to stretch your hunting hours beyond daylight and bless your eyes with crystal clear pictures in all lighting conditions.
The windage and elevation turrets on the scope are finger-adjustable and precise, in my experience. It can hold zero well. The scope can handle the recoil from your rifle well and I’m fond of the eye relief. I also quite like the magnification range.
The best part about this scope is its weight. Once again, the body is crafted with aircraft-grade aluminum for durability. The one-piece tube offers alignment and strength. The 1-inch tube makes it easy to mount. I also like the finish.
And of course, the Leupold warranty.
The adjustment knobs can be a little tight though, so you might need to be patient there.
3. Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Riflescope
We’re clearly fans of this series.
If you’re looking for a good short-range scope within your budget, this one’s for you. It has all the features of the last one- fully multi-coated optics for light transmission and clarity, a dead-hold BDC reticle, and a convenient fast-focus eyepiece. The eye relief stands at a comfortable 3.9-4.7 inches.
The 2-7x magnification range allows for a pleasant shooting experience for extra short distances at the lower end while still being able to cover a respectable distance at the higher end.
The windage and elevation turrets come with a fast reset to zero reset functions and are capped. The rifle scope had no problem holding zero.
The efficiently sized aircraft-grade aluminum body can be mounted with ease. It’s durable, waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof with a nice matte finish to help you stay concealed. I also appreciate the fact that it came with a sunshade.
The lifetime warranty is always comforting in this price range.
However, I found that there was a slight glare towards the edges.
4. Bushnell AR Optics 4.5-18x40mm Riflescope
Bushnell is a trustworthy brand that’s known to provide quality products at competitive prices.
We’ve made sure that no scope on this list makes you compromise on your image quality. The Bushnell AR comes with fully multi-coated lenses to give you the bright and crisp images that you deserve, even in low light. Bushnell’s famous Drop Zone BDC reticle compensates for any bullet drop across long distances and makes target acquisition a breeze.
One notable feature here is the side parallax adjustment, providing the utmost accuracy at a friendly price. The turrets are crisp and exact. The magnification range on this scope is admirable. Even a beginner can shoot considerable distances with precision.
The scope is ready for anything you throw at it. The matte finish body gives you class with a kick. I found it quite easy to mount and dismount with regards to my rifle. It held zero quite well.
However, the eye relief can take a dive at a higher magnification. The reticle might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
5. Athlon Optics Neos 4-12×40 Side Focus Riflescope
How could we end a low budget rifle scope list without mentioning the beautiful Athlon Neos series?
Once again, we see fully multi-coated optics for impeccable images. It has no problem working in low light conditions. Both, the Center X reticle and Illuminated BDC reticle do a great job. Since the reticle is etched on glass, the scope can effectively withstand recoil from your rifle. An eyepiece that lets you focus quickly is always a plus.
The Neos has a side adjustment knob to fix parallax – a great feature for the price. The elevation and windage turrets are crisp and audible (they do not have any markings). The scope does a splendid job at holding zero.
The body comes in the form of a one-piece aircraft-grade aluminum tube that is heat-treated to maximize durability. It’s nitrogen purged to prevent internal fogging in cold temperatures. The scope could survive even if dunked underwater. The mechanical system is constructed to withstand harsh recoil and shock.
This rifle scope too, comes with a warranty.
I do wish the illuminated reticle came with batteries. The eye relief at a higher magnification is slightly insufficient.
Things to look for when you’re purchasing the best rifle scope under 200
There are a few things you need to keep in mind while buying a rifle scope under 200 since it’s a tricky price tag. If you’re confused about what you should expect from rifle scopes under 200, give this segment a read. You can have high standards even at a low price. Pay attention to the following factors to make sure you get your money’s worth. And, You might find our guide on best 308 scopes under $300 useful as you are searching for a scope on a budget.
Never, never, never go for a sub-par lens. You can only shoot after you see your target clearly. Hunting is an enjoyable hobby and things like glare and blurry images shouldn’t take away from that. You wouldn’t want to spoil your experience with frustrating image quality after having spent so much money on equipment. Go for good quality glass with multiple coatings, even if there’s an average lens available for 50$ less.
What is hunting without a good aim? There are a plethora of reticles on the market. Some you might know of, some you might not. Your choice of reticle would depend on the magnification and range of shooting. There are simple reticles as well as reticles that offer significant data. In my experience, it is always wise to run a quick image search of the reticle that your rifle scope is offering so you can get a good idea.
If you’re working with a powerful cartridge, eye relief is crucial. It’s often overlooked while purchasing a rifle scope and can come to bite you later. Even if you’re using a low-recoil cartridge, I suggest you stay on the safer side with an eye relief of at least 3.2 inches.
There is no optimum magnification range. This again depends on your distance and comfort. If you hunt short-range, always make sure that the lower end of your magnification lies below 4x. A higher number could prove to be uncomfortable. A high magnification on a budget scope can get tricky as it starts to take a toll on the image quality. Some scopes still do a great job, though. If you’re still skeptical, 12x is a safe upper limit.
Just because a scope is inexpensive, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t last years. Look out for the material and construction of the scope. It should be water, shock, and fog proof. It should be able to handle recoil well. Get a rifle scope that can take a few knocks.
Money that is hard-earned deserves to be well spent. 200$ is still no small amount and should be able to fetch you quality. Now although you won’t find anything extra fancy, you’ll find a sturdy device that ticks all the basic boxes with regards to the lens and durability. Good scope in this price range will try to incorporate some high-end features. We’ve assessed these rifle scopes quite strictly regardless of the $200 price tag. We’ve even got name-brand optics for the rifle snobs on a budget.
I would suggest spending a little more to get more good quality scope, so why don’t you check out our Best Rifle Scopes Under $300.
Hopefully, with our help, you’ve found an unbelievable scope that excites both, you and your wallet. Rest assured that you can trust our opinion on every scope listed here. Now grab one of the best rifle scopes under 200 and go make a bang on a budget!