7 Best Rifle Scopes Under $300 in 2021
As a sports shooter or huntsman, you want a scope that works well with your gun and increases its accuracy and overall performance. The good news is that there are many scopes out there that fulfill these conditions and retail for as little as under $300.
However, before you go out to shop for one, it is important to know that finding the best rifle scope under $300 will first require you to define your needs and expectations and understand what to look for as you shop.
With our review of top 10 rifle scopes under $300 and buying tips below, finding a model that will do all this and more should be an effortless task.
- 7 Best Rifle Scopes Under $300 – Review
- 1. Nikon P-223 8497 – Best Overall
- 2. Vortex Optics DBK-04-BDC – Feature-rich Scope for Regular Hunters
- 3. Primary Arms PA4-14XFFP – Non-illuminated but Effective Rifle Scope
- 4. Muller MU83244TD – Simple but Highly Effective Design
- 5. Redfield 118348 – Versatile, Easy to Use and Rugged
- 6. Leupold VX-1 – Top Quality Scope by Leupold
- 7. Nikon Prostaff 5 – Easy Long Range Shooting
- How to Buy the Best Rifle Scopes under $300
7 Best Rifle Scopes Under $300 – Review
1. Nikon P-223 8497 (Best Overall)
2. Vortex Optics DBK-04-BDC (Feature-rich for Regular Hunters)
3. Primary Arms PA4-14XFFP (Non-illuminated but Effective)
4. Muller MU83244TD (Simple but Highly Effective Design)
5. Redfield 118348 (Versatile, Easy to Use & Rugged)
6. Leupold VX-1 (Top Quality by Leupold)
7. Nikon Prostaff 5 (Easy Long Range Shooting)
1. Nikon P-223 8497
2. Vortex Optics DBK-04-BDC
(Feature-rich for Regular Hunters)
3. Primary Arms PA4-14XFFP
(Non-illuminated but Effective)
4. Muller MU83244TD
(Simple but Highly Effective Design)
5. Redfield 118348
(Versatile, Easy to Use & Rugged)
6. Leupold VX-1
(Top Quality by Leupold)
7. Nikon Prostaff 5
(Easy Long Range Shooting)
1. Nikon P-223 8497 – Best Overall
- Magnification: 3-9x
- Eye Relief: 3.6 inches
- Field of View: 11.3 to 33.8 feet at 100 yards
- Length: 12.4 inches
Any hunter/shooter that uses an AR-style rifle will love the Nikon P-233 as everything about it is designed specifically for these types of guns. And being a product from one of the most reputable brands with a well-built and feature-rich design, it is rightfully our best overall model.
The generous and consistent 3.6-inch eye relief is one of the key factors that make this one of the best rifle scopes under $300 as it ensures that a shooter’s brows remain safe even under the heaviest recoils.
Also, this rifle scope features some fully multicoated optics that will provide up to an impressive 98% light transmission and maximum brightness throughout the day so that you always get excellent pictures for easy shooting.
With its 100-yard parallax setting, this rifle scope will ensure that you always get precise shooting as it eliminates parallax.
Also, the scope has zero-reset turrets for easy field adjustment and the turrets also come in a hand-turn tactical style for quicker zeroing and to maintain the setting.
The distance markers on the reticles should be a little larger or more pronounced, but you should still not have any difficulties using them as they only require some getting used to. And although can add some significant weight to your riffle, this only takes getting used to.
2. Vortex Optics DBK-04-BDC – Feature-rich Scope for Regular Hunters
- Magnification: 4-12x
- Eye Relief: 3.1 inches
- Field of View: 11.3 to 32.4 feet at 100 yards
- Length: 12 inches
The Diamondback is one of the most popular rifle scopes by Vortex Optics, and it is a feature-rich scope that has been designed to be a perfect match for hunters. And whether you hunt big or small game, it will work well for you.
This being the cheapest model among our review of rifle scopes under $300, it will also be perfect for hunters and shooters that do not want to spend a lot of cash on their scope.
When it comes to the features, the first thing that many shooters will notice is just how solid it looks and feels, and this is mostly thanks to a one-piece aircraft grade aluminum main tube.
The fully multicoated lenses are also a great feature as they ensure maximum light transmission even in low light conditions so that you always get bright and clear pictures.
With the metal on metal turrets on this scope, it is possible to zero reset after sighting in and adjusting the turrets is also easy as you only need to use your fingers.
There is also a side focus adjustment that is designed to be easy to access. With the argon purging and O-ring seal, this scope will be completely water, fog and shockproof.
Although the 3.1-inch eye relief is among the smallest on our list, it should still be more than enough for most shooters and situations. Also, then blurriness around the edges at high magnification is normal for most budget scopes.
More Detailed: Vortex Optics Diamondback Review
3. Primary Arms PA4-14XFFP – Non-illuminated but Effective Rifle Scope
- Magnification: 4-14x
- Eye Relief: 3.14-3.22 inches
- Field of View: 7.85 to 27.20 feet at 100 yards
- Length: 13.01 inches
This Orion scope by Primary Arms is the best hunting rifle scope under $300 for any hunter that prefers to use a non-illuminated scope.
It is a well-built scope that features durable aluminum construction and with a durable matte black finish and is also designed to be shock, fog and waterproof.
The scope uses a highly reliable reticle that will stay true throughout the magnification range. Also, it provides quick ranging and includes wind holds that are calibrated for specific animals like deer and coyote.
There is also a handy side mounted parallax adjustment knob that not only keeps the scope parallax free but also ensures target image remains sharp even on long ranges.
Like many other under $300 rifle scopes, this one will also be a bit blurry on the edges of the field of view at high magnification settings. However, the good news is that the image is still sharp enough. Lack of compatibility with night vision will also not be a deal breaker for many users.
4. Muller MU83244TD – Simple but Highly Effective Design
- Magnification: 8-32x
- Eye Relief: 4 inches
- Field of View: 2.5 to 9.3 feet at 100 yards
- Length: 16.25 inches
Despite its simple-looking design, this Mueller rifle scope is still highly effective, and you can be confident of easy targeting and accurate shooting with it on your firearm.
Its 4-inch eye relief is quite generous and the best thing about it is that it is quite consistent. Also, this is a durable scope with a solid one-piece main tube and matte black finish.
Fast focus eyepiece will make locking onto a target a fast and easy affair and the 8-32x magnification range is also wide enough and perfect for long range shooting. This scope is also designed to maintain edge-to-edge clarity throughout the magnification range.
With the side focus parallax adjustment from 10 yards to infinity, you can shoot confidently without ever having to worry about or deal with parallax. Also, you can buy this scope with confidence as it is backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
The 16.25-inch total length might look a little too long for some rifle scopes, but the good news is that it is still compatible with most hunting and sports shooting rifles.
5. Redfield 118348 – Versatile, Easy to Use and Rugged
- Magnification: 3-9x
- Eye Relief: 3.7-4.2 inches
- Field of View: 13.1 to 32.9 feet at 100 yards
- Length: 12.3 inches
Whether you are on the market for the best tactical rifle scope under $300 or are looking for one for hunting and sports shooting, Redfield's versatile Revolution scope will be up to the job.
Versatility, ease of use and rugged design are the three best ways to describe it. Its versatility comes from the 3:1 zoom ratio that will have you covered regardless of the distance.
The Accu-Trac turrets make windage and elevation adjustment quick and easy thanks to the audible finger clicks and the quick and simple sighting in will also enhance the ease of use.
Also, this scope will offer one of the most generous eye relief as you can always be confident of getting anywhere between 3.7 and 4.2 inches depending on the distances and shooting condition.
There is also a rapid target acquisition eyepiece with lockable settings and the rugged one-piece built ensures that the scope will deliver many years of service.
While the reticle marks could be a little larger, they are still good enough once you get used to the scope, and the absence of mount rings and sunshade is also not a big concern as both are cheap and easy to find.
6. Leupold VX-1 – Top Quality Scope by Leupold
- Magnification: 3-9x
- Eye Relief: 3.7-4.2 inches
- Field of View: 14.6 to 34.6 feet at 100 yards
- Length: 12.6 inches
The overall construction quality and versatility of this Leupold scope are hard to match with any other scope within the same price range.
This rifle scope offers a versatile 3:1 zoom ratio that will be ideal for use in almost any hunting and shooting situation and with easy and more precise finger click adjustments for the windage and elevation.
With its multicoated 4 lens system, this scope will allow for maximum light transmission and deliver extremely clear pictures throughout the view field, and it will do this even when shooting in low light conditions.
Durability and ruggedness are also guaranteed by the lightweight aircraft grade aluminum alloy construction. And the 30mm main tubes are designed to be more spacious to accommodate wide adjustment ranges and lots of features.
While clarity can be an issue at close range without the adapter lens, this is a simple thing to fix by buying the lens which is quite affordable and readily available in the market.
7. Nikon Prostaff 5 – Easy Long Range Shooting
- Magnification: 3.5-14x
- Eye Relief: 4 inches
- Field of View: 7.2 to 28.6 feet at 100 yards
- Length: 13.6 inches
Nikon’s Prostaff 5 is the best long range rifle scope under $300 on our list and whether you are a hunter or long range sports shooter you will love it.
Its high effectiveness when it comes to long-range shooting stems from the unique BDC reticles that also includes see-through ballistic circles.
This top quality rifle scope is also well-built as it features solid aluminum construction and with a sleek finish and complete water, fog and shockproof integrity.
A quick focus eyepiece makes it easy to bring the reticle into focus instantly to ensure you never miss a target even when it is moving. And this is generally a quick and easy scope to sight in and it will hold zero well.
The turrets are also designed to be easily adjustable by hand and the optic system is fully multicoated to deliver bright and clear images even in low light situations.
Plastic turret and parallax knob look cheap but for regular shooting needs, they should still be adequate and long-lasting enough. Biking lens covers are not always very good but you can get some nice aftermarket flip covers for the scope without spending much.
How to Buy the Best Rifle Scopes under $300
To make sure that you get an affordable but top-notch quality rifle scope, you should watch out for the following important things when shopping.
Magnification is one of the most crucial factors to take into account when shopping for a rifle scope. In the rifle scope description, it is represented by numbers such as 4x, 3-9x or 12-25x.
Although some shooters believe that the higher the magnification the better the scope will be, this is not always the case. Instead, the right idea is to get a something with a magnification that suits your specific needs.
A fixed scope magnification like 4x can work for those that are certain the distance and target they will be shooting and do not plan on changing or using the scope for other things.
For those that are shooting targets within 150 yards, a magnification of 2-4x is perfect while 3-9x is ideal for shooting up to 300 yards and 12-25x will be ideal for long range shooting and tactical use.
That said, a wide magnification range like the 8-32x you get on the Muller MU83244TD will be more useful and versatile.
Because you will be mounting the scope directly onto your scope, its size matters a lot as you do not want something that will add unnecessary weight.
Size is an even more important factor for hunters that will have to carry the rifle through dense forests for long distances because the heavier the gun the harder and more tiring it will be to carry around.
Also, the length of the scope will determine whether it will fit your rifle or not, and so you need to be sure of the dimensions before you buy.
A lightweight and compact rifle scope works well for most rifles and shooters. And although it is still important to choose the size according to your particular rifle, in most cases a good scope should not be more than 15 inches long.
There are many reticle options to choose from even when shopping for the best rifle scope under $300 and the optimal or best one for you will depend on your rifle type and shooting range and distance.
If you are a beginner shooter or don’t understand and know how to use other types of reticles, it is always a wise idea to stick with the classic duplex reticle as it will give you an easier time.
However, if you are a pro hunter and more experienced shooter that also wants to be able to estimate the distance and target size, the mil-dot reticle will be a perfect choice.
BDC or bullet drop compensator, on the other hand, will be perfect for shooters that want to be able to judge the bullet drop from various distances to the target.
The material used to make the rifle scope is a crucial factor to consider as it will determine its durability and ability to withstand different environments.
A good scope material should be solid and rugged enough to be able to withstand the abuse that comes with the outdoors.
Although there are various kinds of material used to make the scope’s main tube and components, anodized aluminum or aluminum alloy are by far the best ones as they are not only durable but also lightweight enough. Also, aircraft-grade aluminum like what is used to make Leupold VX-1 is also tough enough.
Also, note that the best hunting rifle scope for under $300 for you should have a construction that is argon or nitrogen-purged to make it fog, water and shockproof.
Even as you shop for an under $300 rifle scope, you will still need to decide on the actual amount of money you are willing to spend.
Do you want a basic but effective enough under $50 scope or something more feature-rich and with dual illumination that retails for over $250?
The choice is all up to you and the intended purpose of the scope. But whether you want the cheapest model or not, it is important to make sure that you never compromise on basic things like the quality of the lens, field of view, eye relief and overall construction.
There are many good rifle scopes in the market that you can get for under $300. And our comprehensive review above should make it easy to marrow down your choices.
From our review, the Nikon P-223 8497 is our best overall scope and it will be an even better choice for those that use the AR-style rifles.
But, if you are a regular hunter looking for a simple but feature-rich scope the Vortex Optics DBK-04-BDC will give you great service.