Just 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.
Burris Veracity 2-10x-42mm
The completely new Veracity 2-10x-42mm
could easily be the best value of all those listed here. Built on a robust 30mm tube, Veracity scopes house premium glass that offers clear, distortion-free viewing and are purged against internal fogging. They are also waterproof, shock resistant and offer consistent, repeatable windage and elevation adjustments. With this scope's 4-20X
big brother, I won my first F-Class 1000-yard competition, so I might be biased, but I like the Veracity scopes well enough that I'm putting one on my custom rifle for a trip to Africa this fall. 'Nuff said. Plus, Burris backs it with a no-questions-asked Forever Warranty.
Leupold VX-6 2-12x42mm
While it's one of the most expensive scopes showcased here, the new-ish VX-6 Leupold
is exciting, to say the least. Made in the USA, it's incredibly versatile, courtesy of a previously unheard-of wide zoom range (2X to 12X!) and top-quality elevation and windage adjustment turrets. Choose the Boone & Crocket
reticle option for a simple, effective ballistic holdover reticle. No argument: This scope wins the versatility championship.
[imo-slideshow gallery= 90],249
As an answer to enthusiast's requests for a Nightforce
scope at a blue-collar price, the company stripped away bells and whistles — but not quality — and introduced the SHV (Shooter Hunter Varminter)
scope. It's a bit large for stalking whitetails through big timber but ideal for stretching your rifle's legs and connecting across a wide clear-cut. Two capable reticles add versatility, and the windage and elevation turrets — while without a Zero Stop — provide consistent adjustments. Another potential advantage to those who don't need compact sleekness is the 56mm objective lens, which gathers a tremendous amount of light for those cusp-of-darkness shots.
Nikon Monarch-7 2.5-10x50mm
Incorporating a 30mm tube, the Monarch 7
line also features a 'Custom XR Turret ' free to the buyer. Just provide the specifics of your chosen caliber and load, along with anticipated environmental conditions where you hunt, and Nikon
will send you a free turret yardage-marked to match. 'Ultra ClearCoat ' lens coatings enable 95-percent light transmission and distortion-free image. Every scope is also nitrogen purged against fogging and is waterproof, shock resistant and backed by Nikon's Lifetime Warranty.
Redfield Revolution Tac 3-9x40mm
This may not be the historic American scope company's most recent introduction, but it is the only model still built in the USA. Plus, it's priced affordably. Classic 3-9X 40mm configuration in every way but one, the Revolution/Tac
provides the American deer hunter with proven characteristics and a low profile elevation turret designed to help shooters reach out and make long shots. Multi-layer vapor-deposited coatings make for excellent light transmission and image quality, and the TAC-MOA reticle offers hash marks for windage compensation or quick holdover. Covered by Redfield's
No Excuses Lifetime Warranty, it's waterproof, internally fogproof and shock resistant.
Zeiss Terra 3-9x-42mm
doesn't hide that the Terra
line is built overseas — in Japan to be specific. However, it's designed by German engineers, built according to German manufacturing methods and controlled by German QC standards. As such, it offers clarity, engineering and finish that approach classic high-cost European riflescopes at a fraction of the cost. Available in several magnification ranges and objective lens sizes, my favorite is the traditional 3-9X 42mm: It's sleek, great looking and fits classic conceptions of what a deer riflescope should be. Two reticles may be had: The Z-Plex is a standard duplex-type crosshair, and the RZ 6 is a simplified ballistic holdover reticle derived from the company's extremely successful Rapid-Z line.
$444.43 with Plex reticle; $499.99 with RZ6 reticle
Bushnell Elite LRHS 3-12x44mm
Built specifically for those wanting an optic capable of delivering beyond typical hunting ranges, the Bushnell Elite Long Range Hunting Scope (LRHS)
offers 3-12x 44mm variable power in a 30mm one-piece tube. Although it's designed for long-range use, because the first focal plane LRHS
long-range G2H reticle with .5 mil hash marks with eight mils of holdover and six mils of windage adjustment, it's also effective for ranging targets at any magnification setting. The LRHS incorporates a zero-stop mechanism allowing the hunter to easily return to a familiar zero on demand. The riflescope is argon purged, waterproof and fogproof and comes with the Kansas-based company's limited lifetime warranty as well as its one-year, no-risk Bulletproof Guarantee
[imo-slideshow gallery= 90],499.99