7 Great New Scopes for 2014 Deer Season

best_deer_scopesJust a couple decades ago, there were only a few real contenders on the American deer-scope scene. Today, myriad options exist from an array of manufacturers around the world.

Choosing the right scope depends, of course, on the type of hunting you generally do: Some hunters need a lightweight, compact scope with a wide field of view for fast action at smell-the-buck distances, while some need a high-magnification precision optic for reaching out and touching a prowling buck far across a flat. Others require a versatile scope that can ably rise to whatever task it is put to.

Versatility is very much in the eyes of the beholder, but the current trend toward wide ranges of variable power magnification tends to make a scope more adaptable to various scenarios. Additionally, easy-to-use windage and elevation adjustment turrets, more advanced lens coatings and more robust housings increase both the quality and ergonomics of today's scopes, while improving their ability to handle whatever you and Mother Nature throw at them.

As an aside, cost is the single most troublesome element of today's great new scopes. Conventional wisdom suggests that savvy riflemen spend just as much on a scope as they do on a deer rifle. When I was a kid, if you spent $600 on a rifle and $400 on a new Leupold, you were living in high cotton. I suppose inflation calculations would show that real-world cost is similar in today's dollars, but it just hurts to consider that a really good rifle starts at about $800 to $1,200, and today's cutting-edge optics cost just as much. It's easy to spend $1,500 to $2,500 on a deer rig these days. Of course, we're looking at premium gear here. There are decent budget-level models available for much less.

We've selected seven great riflescopes that offer solid quality and versatility. Like the ultimate date for your rifle, these elegant scopes will leave you with nothing to fret about other than where you left that new memory card for your special grip-n-grin camera.

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