There are scopes that provide a good combination of dependable performance and affordability. These devices are great choices for advanced beginners in the art of hunting, tactical shooting, and plinking.
What We'll Cover
- Best Rifle Scope Under $200 Reviews of 2021
- Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 SFP Riflescope
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×44 SFP Riflescope
- UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope
- Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9×40 Riflescope
- Bushnell AR Optics 4.5-18x40mm Riflescope
- Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope
- Monstrum G2 6-24×50 FFP Rifle Scope
- Primary Arms Classic Series 4-16x44mm SFP Rifle Scope
- Simmons 6-24×50 Whitetail Classic Riflescope
- Athlon Optics Neos 4-12×40 SFP Riflescope
- What to Expect from the Rifle Scope Under $200
- How to Choose the Best Rifle Scope Under $200
Such gadgets are also ideal for seasoned shooters who want to expand on their array of trustworthy scopes. These scopes can also be good choices for replacing damaged or broken devices.
Whatever the reason is, you would want to bring home only the best rifle scope under $200 to complement and enhance the shooting characteristics of your rifle. Choosing the right one is not always easy. Our list of the ten best sub-$200 scopes should be a good start.
Best Rifle Scope Under $200 Reviews of 2021
Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 SFP Riflescope
The Diamondback 4-12x40 riflescope is one of multiple configurations in the Diamondback lineup and is ideal for big game, predator/varmint, muzzleloader, slug shotgun, and long range applications
This high-quality deer hunting scope under $200 is one of the most versatile we have seen. We mounted the Diamondback on different firearms, including a slug shotgun and a muzzleloader. The versatile design of the scope is surprising, especially if you consider that the Diamondback is available for less than $200.
The quick focus eyepiece is also worth noting. We find it very useful in acquiring fast-moving targets. The glass of the Diamondback is as clear as any other Vortex Optics product, although we find the quality of the image to be somewhat reduced at 12x. The clarity of the image is still very acceptable, though.
The glass is bright, too. It allows for more precise aiming, especially if you are out varmint hunting. Predators in the wild will never be a match for the Diamondback. This scope does not know how or when to quit, even if the terrain gets too tough or the weather gets out of hand.
While the dials offer very precise adjustments for compensating shots, we did find them to be small for our liking. Adjusting the turret can be tricky if you wear thick gloves.
- Very versatile scope for multiple applications
- Bright and crystal clear lenses
- Turrets are very precise
- Easy to reset to zero with good repeatable characteristics
- Dependable construction of the scope body
- Smaller adjustment dials than some brands
We still believe that the Vertex Optics Diamondback is a great rifle scope. You will not spend a fortune on this scope, yet you can already get many of the good qualities of VO’s more expensive scopes.
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-12×44 SFP Riflescope
The 4-12x44 Crossfire II riflescope is one of many configurations in the Crossfire II line. The Dead-Hold BDC reticle is good for hunting/shooting at varying ranges where estimating holdover is a c...
A Vortex attribute that never fails to impress us is its glass quality. Targets look very clear, regardless of their distance from the shooter. We hit varmints from 300 yards with ease. Placing shots this accurate has always been an issue for us using scopes at this price range.
The eye relief of the Crossfire II is more than sufficient to ensure better safety without sacrificing accuracy. The brightness levels of the Crossfire II were also spot on. We never complained about glare hitting our eyes and taking the fun out of the hunt.
The MOA fingertip windage adjustment dial as well as the elevation dial all work with precision. They offer better feedback than Vortex Optics’ Diamondback series. The turrets come with caps, making adjustments a lot easier.
For all its good qualities, the Crossfire II does have a few drawbacks. This scope is not great for shooting a target beyond 500 yards. However, it should still be a good long-range scope for those with excellent eyesight.
- Bright, clear, and distortion-free lens
- Clear and very easy to focus reticle
- Resettable, repeatable, and lockable dials
- Ample eye box
- Durable, solid, and lightweight construction
- Not for long range shooting
Vortex Optics products are always reliable. The Crossfire II is not any different. You can depend on it for hunting or for tactical shooting. The clarity of its lens and the performance of its turrets all lend the Crossfire II enough attributes to make it a wonderful choice.
UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope
30-millimeter SWAT 3-12X44 IE tactical range estimating scope with mil-dot, full 36-color EZ Tap reticle
30-Millimeter tube built on True Strength Platform: sealed and nitrogen filled, shockproof, ...
One very striking characteristic of the UTG scope is its sexy silhouette. We find its design to be one of the coolest straight from the shelves of a gun supplies store. It gives the impression of a tactical scope, with an all-around performance of a hunter’s device to boot.
The reticle design of the UTG is remarkable. You would be surprised at how crisp the lines of its reticle can be, whether you zoom out to 3x or zoom in to 12x. The UTG is a high-quality mil-dot scope under $200 that delivers unparalleled precision and speed in the acquisition of targets.
As the best hunting rifle scope under $200, you can expect the UTG scope to perform beyond the capabilities of a traditional scope. The tube is solid and the addition of a lens hood is admirable.
While this UTG scope is compact, it is quite heavy. It should not come as a surprise, however, given the many innovations that Leapers have put into the design of the scope. It can still be a concern for some people who own an already-heavy rifle.
- Unparalleled glass quality for remarkable target views
- Great for both tactical shooting and hunting
- Large and responsive resettable turrets
- Comes with large lens hood for optimum glare protection
- Exceptional retention of zero
- Heavier than other scopes
Notwithstanding its heft, this product from UTG remains our favorite as the best scope under $200. You get unquestionable sighting performance in a compact design that can make your hunting and shooting adventures more fun.
Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9×40 Riflescope
Extremely bright sight picture
Fully multicoated lenses
Patented BDC reticle
Generous, consistent eye relief
Waterproof, fog proof, shockproof
The Buckmasters II is an excellent choice for people who know and appreciate Nikon’s penchant for high performance glasses. After all, many well-established American scope brands source their lenses from the Japanese brand. That is why many target shooters choose the Buckmasters II because of the unquestionable superiority of its glass.
The adjustment dials are both spot-on and crisp. The size of its pupil is also large and it complements the large diameter of its lens. This makes the Buckmasters II a good device for hunting when the sun is about to set.
The scope’s overall construction can guarantee many decades of use. And if you are not convinced, then Nikon’s quality should dispel your worries and make you cast your doubts.
We did find a few complaints about this Nikon scope. There are those who say that it is not as accurate as other scopes. We know that there are a lot of factors that can affect the accuracy of the shot. Even expensive scopes can fail if the shooter does not make accurate estimates of both elevation and windage.
- Bright, clear, and very durable glass
- Remarkable adjustment dials
- Good for hunting in low light situations
- Excellent overall value
- Quality guaranteed for life
- Some complaints about accuracy
We believe that the Nikon Buckmasters II is a good choice for anyone who wants a high-quality hunting scope under $200. It has many of Nikon’s exceptional qualities imprinted in the scope’s performance and construction.
Bushnell AR Optics 4.5-18x40mm Riflescope
Quality optics with stunning HD clarity. Rain guard HD: No
100 % quality materials used and tested extensively
Beautiful design and durability built to last
Drop Zone-223 BDC Ballistic Reticle is c...
A friend of ours was kind enough to lend us his Bushnell scope. It allowed us to run the scope through several tests. The magnification range of the scope is admirable. The scope feels at home in shooting targets from long range. While it was ambitious for us to try the scope to hit a point some 1000 yards away, we find its sweet spot to be anywhere between 400 and 600 yards. The parallax adjustment allowed us to make very accurate shots at 500 yards.
The other turrets also displayed exceptional feedback and crisp turns. The precision you get when aiming at a target is phenomenal.
This scope also performs well, regardless of weather conditions. The weather-sealing and fog proofing of the scope ensure all-weather, all-terrain performance. Take the scope anywhere and it will perform splendidly.
Do not get us wrong. This scope is easy to mount. However, we had difficulty mounting the scope in the Picattiny rail of our rifle. We have had scopes that have a convenient “plug-and-play” design. It took us a little over an hour to mount the scope properly.
- Great choice for the 223 Remington
- Good for long range shots at 500 yards
- Very easy to return the scope to zero
- HD-quality of target images
- Durable and solid construction
- Can be tricky to mount on certain rails
Whether it is for some serious hunting or for target practice, we would recommend the Bushnell AR Optics riflescope anytime. Its glass is clear and its scope dynamics perform a lot better than some more expensive devices we have tried.
Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope
Leopold Model #174180 - VX Freedom 3-9x40mm with Duplex reticle and Matte finish
100% Waterproof, fog proof, & shockproof
Made with 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum and punisher tested to a lifeti...
The Freedom’s aircraft aluminum construction is the kind of stuff that will never make you want to drag your feet. This optical device can handle any insult that Mother Nature can have up her sleeve.
The duplex reticle is also a classic. It is both crisp and very clear. Newbies will have an easy time centering the target in the crosshairs. We also know of pros who prefer to make the shot without relying on compensation markers.
We like how Leupold improved on its lenses. The glass on the Freedom will never be subject to scratches. You get to retain the quality of the optics, allowing you to enjoy hunting and shooting for many decades. It works well in different light conditions, too.
While the turrets of the VX-Freedom are repeatable and precise, we did find inconsistencies in its performance. It works splendidly for some people. However, there are also those who say that the scope cannot retain the position of its adjustment settings or that it is difficult to set.
- Excellent visibility in reduced lighting scenarios
- Compact and durable construction
- Scratch proof glass for all-around use
- Very precise, repeatable turrets
- Simple yet clear and crisp reticle
- Some issues with the reliability of the turret adjustment
We never doubted the qualities of the VX-Freedom. The mishap with its O-ring seals was our mistake. In our opinion, this Leupold scope is the best choice for those who want a high-quality .308 rifle scope under $200 or any other rifle, for that matter.
Monstrum G2 6-24×50 FFP Rifle Scope
High precision tactical rifle scope with 6-24x magnification, a 50mm objective lens, and an eye relief of 4-4.5 inches
Functionally designed first focal plane rangefinder reticle, with easy-to-read...
One major advantage of an FFP scope is that you get to retain the proportion of the reticle size to the size of the zoomed target. it makes for ranging a lot easier. And speaking of range estimation, the G2’s rangefinder reticle comes with very simple range-related information for better estimation. It also helps that Monstrum decided to include a button-activated mechanism for controlling the reticle illumination.
The G2’s lens diameter is so large that we cannot help asking ourselves if this is indeed a scope that costs less than 200 dollars. It is good that Monstrum also included lens covers in the design of the scope. The size of its lens is sure to attract more particles than a scope with a smaller-sized lens. Keeping the glass clean is also easy with Monstrum’s own lens cloth.
While the G2’s turrets are very responsive, we did have some issues about their reliability and accuracy. Compensating for elevation and windage was a bit off.
- Comes with a first focal plane design
- Clear reticle with good illumination
- Good for range estimation
- Good quality and durable glass
- Large and responsive turret dials
- Not very precise turret adjustments
We understand that the Monstrum G2 is far from perfect. However, a scope that performs well in mid- to- long- range shooting without spending a fortune on it is definitely worth having on your rifle.
Primary Arms Classic Series 4-16x44mm SFP Rifle Scope
MIL-DOT RETICLE: The second focal plane design keeps the simple, unobtrusive mil-dot reticle the same size at any magnification while guiding the user’s eye to the center
PARTIAL RETICLE ILLUMINATI...
The crisp MOA windage and elevation dials of the Classic Series are perfect for setting your sights on a target some 500 to 800 yards away. The glass both in front and at the rear of the scope offer a clear view of any target.
The scope comes with a Mil-dot reticle. You can change its illumination up to 12 different settings. This is an added bonus when hunting wild animals at dusk or under an overcast sky. Keep in mind, however, that the scope only uses a standard CR2032 battery. The battery life may not be as good as scopes that utilize other power systems.
The Classic Series’ tube construction is solid. Primary Arms even included lens caps to help protect the glass. Taking this scope to the mountains or through the jungle is never a problem.
The Primary Arms provide peace of mind for its products for its long-lasting use. This scope is made of premium scope materials that offer more satisfaction to its users.
However, if you’re a beginner, you might have to take a little time to become familiar with its use, though. But then, it is still not as hard to use as other scopes there are.
- Durable clear glass
- Clear and bright illuminated reticle
- Adjustable and lockable turrets
- Easy to reset to zero
- Solid construction with good weather-sealing
- A bit hard to use for first timers
The Primary Arms Classic Series is still a wonderful choice. This is especially if you want to shoot at targets from 500 to 700 yards. The quality of PA’s optics and the performance of its turrets are enough to make this a great device to add to your 500-yard-firing rifle.
Simmons 6-24×50 Whitetail Classic Riflescope
Waterproof, Fog proof and shockproof for the utmost in reliability and durability
Being a subsidiary of Bushnell gives Simmons a competitive advantage in terms of optical quality. There is no questioning the image clarity of the Whitetail as it delivers bright and crisp images across its remarkable magnification power. While we did observe some level of distortion near the maximum 24x magnification of the scope, it was still clearer than the images that other brands can provide.
The tube diameter is not the best in its class. However, it is enough to ensure brighter and clearer target images than what other scopes can provide. The Whitetail also guarantees solid weatherproofing and fog proofing for better all-around scope performance. It does not matter where you decide to take the scope. It will perform as expected.
Adjusting the scope’s turrets is also straightforward. It gives that audible click that serious hunters need. The reticle has a very simple design that people will love.
The only thing we want Simmons to improve on is the eye box. The distance between the outer edge of the scope and the eyes can be sufficient for some people. However, most shooters will agree that the relief is not very accommodating, in general.
- Good magnification for medium to long range shooting
- Bright, distortion-free, and clear optics
- Lightweight, solid, and weatherproof construction
- Clear and crisp reticle
- Responsive turret dials
- Insufficient relief for the eyes
Regardless, the Simmons Whitetail Classic is a good scope. It guarantees more accurate shots in a lightweight package. Plus, you will never feel short-changed with the scope’s overall design and build.
Athlon Optics Neos 4-12×40 SFP Riflescope
Fully multi-coated lenses gives you better light transmission to bring optimum brightness and true color across the entire light Spectrum
Reticle etched on the Glass that provides excellent backing...
One of the Neos’ best attributes is its advanced FMC lens technology. The images you get are as clear as that of an expensive optical device. The light transmission is excellent. We never had any problems where the target we were aiming at was dim and blurry. Aiding the aiming precision of the Neos is the Center X reticle. It is the brand’s way of calling the duplex crosshairs.
The dials feel nice. The knobs for windage and elevation do not have markings on them. Only the side focus knob that adjusts for the parallax has markings to ensure effortless zeroing. The Neos retains its zero splendidly, too.
Athlon’s experience in making very nice scopes is imprinted on the Neos. The scope body is as solid as a rock without the cumbersome weight of metal. The Neos can take Mother Nature’s beating without ever flinching. It is fog proof and shock proof, too.
We found the relief of the Neos to be less than ideal, especially when mounted on a rifle that chambers a butt-kicking round. It should not be a problem when mounted to a .223 or a .22 loaded rifle.
- Offers bright and clear target images
- Simple yet effective Center X reticle
- Durable and strong scope body
- Repeatable and lockable dials
- Good fogproofing and weather-sealing
- Relief for the eyes may be short for some people
Athlon’s Neos 4-12×40 is an excellent quality rifle scope that delivers clear target images and a robust construction for a take-anywhere attitude. Its price belies the performance the scope delivers and the build quality that it guarantees.
What to Expect from the Rifle Scope Under $200
Reputable manufacturers of rifle scopes will always find a way to put more emphasis on the performance of their optical devices. A good budget scope can never have all of the remarkable qualities of very expensive devices for rifles. However, one can always feel confident about the quality of the target image that the device will provide.
The lens of an inexpensive rifle scope is always of good quality. These scopes can never compete with the optical quality of $1000 scopes. However, they can guarantee a much better view of objects than sub-$100 devices can.
The build quality should be right between an inexpensive and a high end unit. It has good protection against the elements as well as against shocks and vibrations. It should not break easily, especially if you mount the scope on a butt-kicking, high-recoil rifle.
The scope should also give you a field of view that is great enough to have a better appreciation and understanding of the target area. Keep in mind that the FOV of a scope often decreases with magnification. The same is true with the device’s exit pupil.
An inexpensive and high quality scope should have adjustable objectives that are ideal for your activities. For example, if you are into target shooting, then it would be ideal to get a scope that can zoom up to the maximum distance of the target in the field.
The adjust ability of the sighting mechanism is also important. You need a device that is easy to set when it comes to acquiring a target.
How to Choose the Best Rifle Scope Under $200
It is quite easy to determine the best rifle scope under 200 dollars. You can always ask seasoned hunters and professional riflemen. You can also read customer reviews. If these do not help, then you can always set out on your own search of the ‘ideal’ scope at your preferred price point. Here are some things you can do to pick the right budget riflescope for you.
Always Assess the Characteristics of the Scope’s Optics
A 200 dollar scope may have a lens that looks exactly the same as that of a 1000-dollar unit. This is where your creativity comes in. Checking the lens for quality control issues is always a must when shopping for a scope. You can perform a side-by-side assessment of actual scopes. You can check the experiences of customers. Check for lens coating. The type of coating on the lens can give you an idea of how well the scope will perform in the field.
Assess the Objective Lens Size
This depends on the lighting conditions that you will be shooting in. If you prefer going on a hunting trip at dusk, then you will need a bigger lens size. Hunters in broad daylight should always pick a scope with a smaller objective lens to help prevent flooding the scope chamber with too much light. This is not an issue if that device comes with variable brightness settings.
Consider the Right Magnification of the Rifle Device
A hunting scope will often require a magnification of 3-9x. This is sufficient for effective deer hunting. However, if you are hunting wild boars and other varmints, you will need a scope with a higher magnification of about 4.5-14x. The point here is to pick a magnification scope that can give you the best possible image of your intended target. Additionally, it is wise to remember that image quality can suffer at higher magnification.
Choose between a First and a Second Focal Plane
Long-range shooters will always want their scopes to have a first focal plane. This allows them to make more accurate adjustments because the reticle maintains its proportion relative to the sight picture. Unfortunately, many FFP rifles on the market are expensive. So, if you see an FFP scope at a low price, you’d better grab it.
Check the Reticle
Most gun enthusiasts will want a simple reticle, although scopes with MOA or Mil-dot reticles are fine. There are also those who prefer a laser sight system than the traditional. Tactical shooters prefer a red dot sight for more rapid and more precise aiming.
Assess the Turrets
A seasoned target shooter will always want repeatable shot compensation dials. These dials should provide you with enough feedback to help eliminate taking your sights off of your target. The scope should also be easy to set in its true zero and retain it until such time that you are ready for a different shooting scenario. You should be able to pick a number of options that can offer you very responsive turrets at this price limit.
Check the Construction of the Scope
A scope that you can get at below $200 should always have a reliable construction. The outer edge of the eye piece should have ample distance from the eyes of the shooter. Good quality scopes will always have dependable weather-sealing and protection against shocks and fogging. The price tag of the scope should never spell the quality of its construction.
A good and inexpensive scope for rifles has as many of the much sought-after attributes of expensive scopes. While it is understandable that some aspects of the scope will have a slightly lower quality, the device should always come with good target viewing characteristics. When picking the best rifle scope under $200, it is ideal to perform a very thorough assessment of several scopes.
From the lens quality and scope body construction to the performance of the turrets, these scopes should give you good value for your money. You would want to depend on the scope to give you a memorable experience with your rifle.