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5 Best Scopes For Elk Hunting – Your Recipe To A Great Dinner

If you’re a hunter that likes to cook what he catches, you’re probably a big fan of elk hunting. These quick and clever beauties make for some of the best meals you’ll ever have. However, this taste comes only after a good amount of hard work – hunting elks is not an easy task. Aside from a good weapon, you also require one of the Best Scopes For Elk Hunting.

The best elk hunting scope will be versatile, bright, and durable. It will help you expand your horizons and hunt much more than elk. I’m guessing that if you’re here, the market has probably confused you with its unlimited options. Don’t worry; your search will end here. The following are the best sighting devices for elk hunting.

Top 5 Best scopes for elk hunting

NameSpecsUSPToday's Price
Vortex Crossfire II4-12x44Best at lowest price Click Here
Leupold VX-3i3.5-10x40Best low light performance Click Here
Leupold VX-6HD2-12x42Best overall Click Here
Bushnell Engage4-16x44Best adjustments Click Here
Vortex Diamondback4-12x40Most user friendly Click Here

1. Vortex Crossfire II 4-12×44 Rifle Scope

Best Scopes For Elk Hunting

Vortex is one of the most trusted scope brands. You will be happy to learn that 100% of these devices are made in the USA.

The Vortex Crossfire II is a series that you’ve probably seen in a lot of scope listings. Its excellence and affordability prove itself over and over again. You will get images of the highest resolution with this glass. It is fully multi-coated for maximum light transmission and almost no glare. Acquiring those elks becomes quicker and easier than ever with the help of the fast-focus eyepiece.

What I also really like is the Dead-Hold BDC reticle that doesn’t make me guess about my bullet when I’m shooting down an elk that’s far away. The eye relief is accommodating. The elevation and windage adjustments are simple and accurate. The capped turrets can be reset to zero, which is super convenient.

I love the matte look of this elk hunting scope. The body is constructed using high-quality aircraft level aluminum, which is an indication that it will last forever. It can take water and weather. You don’t have to worry about temperature changes either. To complete the package, we have the Vortex VIP warranty.

For the downside, I found this device to be a little bulky.


  • Great visuals
  • Affordable
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Compensating reticle
  • Excellent adjustments
  • Strong body
  • Warranty


  • Bulky

What’s The verdict?

The Vortex Crossfire II 4-12x 44 Rifle Scope is an overachiever for the price. It’s a joy to operate. I especially love the reticle and the warranty.

2. Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm Riflescope

Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm Riflescope

Leupold is a very well known brand that’s trusted by almost every hunter out there. Their scopes are durable and bright.

Here we have the famous Twilight Max Light Management system that boosts light transmission to unimaginable extents and makes sure you never have to deal with glare. Furthermore, the lens edges are blackened to bring down the dispersion of any stray rays of light.

If this combination wasn’t enough, Leupold has also equipped its device with a Diamond Coat 2 lens coating, which ensures military-like performance. You can depend on this scope to serve you well when you’re hunting elks at dusk or dawn.

Once again, we have a fast-focus eyepiece. It’s lockable and quickens you up considerably. The twin bias spring erector system holds everything together on the inside and stabilizes your scope. It’s pretty easy to zero and holds this zero quite well too.

This device is remarkably light, weighing in at a mere 12 oz. The Argon + Krypton purging boots waterproof and fog-proof performance. The Leupold lifetime warranty is assuring and reliable.

I do wish the magnification was a little higher, though.


  • Light management system
  • Special lens coating
  • Lens edges are blackened
  • Can hold zero
  • Lockable quick focus eyepiece
  • Lightweight
  • Rough and tough
  • Warranty


  • 10x upper limit

What’s The verdict?

The Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x 40mm Riflescope offers visual quality that can only be matched by Leupold itself. It’s an extremely user-friendly, foolproof scope that comes at a reasonable price.

3. Leupold VX-6HD 2-12x42mm Rifle Scope

Leupold VX-6HD 2-12x42mm Rifle Scope

Here’s another Leupold scope for elk hunting. This is one of their high-end models.

This is one of the most terrific Leupold scopes of all time. They’ve left no stone unturned with regards to image quality. Firstly, we have the Twilight Max HD Management System that uses a bunch of factors to ensure the brightest and clearest image possible, alongside extra hunting time.

Secondly, we have the Guard-Iron Rain Shedding coating that further strengthens and elongates the life of your lens by repelling external substances and scratches. The large objective provides a wide field of view and excellent edge-to-edge clarity across the zoom.

The reticle is an illuminated FireDot Duplex reticle with seven illumination levels, the adjustment for which is quite easy. The battery performs efficiently thanks to the Motion Sensor Technology that switches the reticle off if it detects inactivity for more than 5 minutes and brings it back on as soon as the activity is recognized.

The scope also comes with a reversible lever that lets you make rapid changes in magnification. The windage and elevation adjustments are magnificent. The proprietary ZeroLock system lets you reset to zero as well as locks in this zero effectively.

The Leupold VX-6HD is not only great on the outside but on the inside as well. The body is built with unquestionably durable aircraft-grade aluminum. The twin bias spring erector mechanism makes sure that the scope is completely shockproof and invincible.

Furthermore, it is purged with a mixture of Argon and Krypton, which makes sure that your device is completely indifferent to the weather and that your lenses will never fog up. To top all of this off, we have the full lifetime warranty.

However, everything great comes at a price. This scope is definitely on the pricey end.


  • Excellent, unbeatable glass
  • Consistent clarity from edge to edge
  • Precise illuminated reticle
  • Motion sensors
  • Great turrets with ZeroLock
  • Tough body
  • Robust internal mechanisms
  • Warranty


  • Price

What’s The verdict?

If price is not your concern, I highly recommend going for the Leupold VX-6HD 2-12x 42mm Rifle Scope. It easily tops any other scope on this list.

4. Bushnell Engage 4-16x44mm Rifle Scope

Bushnell Engage 4-16x44mm Rifle Scope

Bushnell is probably one of the most experienced brands in the optics industry. Their years of expertise has allowed them to create high-performance scopes at competitive prices.

We are all about clarity, so this Bushnell scope is also one with fully multi-coated lenses for high contrast and brightness. Additionally, it comes with an EXO barrier glass coat that is indifferent to any particle from the jungle. The zoom range is wide and allows you to shoot comfortably over a considerable range. I also like the deploy MOA reticle that features crosshairs of the perfect thickness for elk hunting.

The parallax adjustment on the side is a boon, really. The tactical windage and elevation turrets can be locked to prevent unwanted shifts. They will give you those satisfying audible clicks while you zero in with ease. This zero is held well too. Eye relief on this scope is quite comfortable.

The Bushnell Engage is one of the sleekest scopes I’ve seen in quite a while. It can take punishment and also offers terrific waterproofing. It came when bikini lens caps but didn’t include a sunshade.

However, I should warn you that this scope is relatively heavy.


  • Multiple special coatings
  • Wide magnification range
  • Nice reticle
  • Side adjustable parallax
  • Audible turrets
  • Sleek and sturdy


  • Relatively weighty

What’s The verdict?

The Bushnell Engage 4-16x 44 mm Rifle Scope is certainly a threat to elk everywhere. I love the side adjustable parallax.

5. Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 Matte Riflescope

Vortex Diamondback 4-12x40 Matte Riflescope

Our last contender is another affordable device from Vortex.

This one also comes with the Dead-Hold BDC reticle that lets you shoot down elk without any second guesses. The fully multi-coated lenses ensure that you spot those antlers perfectly. I really like how clear the glass on this scope is. We also have a quick focus eyepiece for speedy acquisition of your prey.

I have to remark on the elevation and windage turrets. They’re really crisp, repeatable, and user friendly. The clicks are audible. You can also reset them to zero after sight in to make your job easier.

One signature mechanism here is the Precision-Glide Erector system that lets you zoom in and out seamlessly. The one-piece tube has an excellent finish to it. It’s made using aircraft quality aluminum.

Instead of nitrogen purging, Vortex has purged its scope with argon to chemically bring fogging to a minimum. Along with the other Vortex scope, it is among the lowest priced items on this list. We’re also blessed with the Vortex VIP warranty.

For the downside, I’d say that the eye relief can be a little unforgiving.


  • Dead-Hold reticle
  • Amazing repeatable turrets
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Precision-Glide system
  • Durable
  • Price
  • Warranty


  • Eye relief

What’s The verdict?

If you’re looking for a name-brand device with a friendly price tag, the Vortex Diamondback 4-12x 40 Matte Riflescope is for you. It’s a sleek-looking and accurate companion for your next elk hunt.


Do I need a spotting scope or a rifle scope?

Firstly, let’s get this clear – a spotting scope is an independent device that sits on top of a tripod while a rifle scope is a device that fits onto your rifle. Since it’s independent, the spotting scope is often larger, with better lenses and magnification properties.

The rifle scope, as we know, is more compact and has the ability to hold zero through movement. Both of them have their pros and cons, and you need to fully understand their applications before you make your choice. If you’re going to stay put for a long time while you stalk your target, go for the spotting scope. If you’re a hurried hunter that likes to acquire the first target he can see, the riflescope is the choice for you.

What cartridges are great for elk hunting?

The .338 Winchester would be my top choice. The .338 Remington Ultra Magnum, 22 250 Remington and the .300 Winchester Magnum will also destroy those Elks in no time.

What magnification do I need?

You never want to be too close to an elk because it might just attack you. These beasts need to be taken down from a distance. However, sometimes you might have to make a close to mid-range shot as well. A scope with variable magnification is a definite must. About 3-4x on the lower end is great, while 12-15x works well as the upper limit.

What else do I need to look out for?

Clarity is extremely important, especially given the range and the dark color of an Elk. You need a sharp glass that maintains its quality across your zoom range. The reticle is another important part of a good elk hunting scope. You can hunt them during the day, but twilight is the best time.

Therefore, you need a crisp, high contrast (maybe even illuminated) aiming point. Lastly, keep in mind the manufacturer and trustworthiness of the product. Some relatively new companies are quite promising as well, but in that case, you should pay attention to the durability features and material. A warranty is always a good thing to have.


That’s about it! The first step in the recipe to a great elk roast is buying a good hunting scope. Hopefully, we’ve helped you out in that area. Remember to keep my pointers in mind, and you’ll be on your way to an amazing buy.