SCOPES

Best Rifle Scope Under $500: Sighting in on Saving Money

Cheap riflescope mounted on rifle
Mike Benton
Written by Mike Benton

The rifle scope is one of the most important parts of the rifle that needs to be invested on if one wants to take shooting or hunting more seriously than others. A scope is used to help you get a better vision on your target with a precise lock on where your shot needs to land.

What is even more impressive is the fact that riflescope is easy to use with consistent precision to hit even some of the farthest targets with a great amount of accuracy. It does not matter whether you are a hunter or practice shooting for sport. You will be aware that choosing the scope of the rifle will go deep in determining the accuracy of which you will be able to shoot.

pellet gun scope on gun

The best scope on the market can be really expensive, but setting a budget can still provide high-quality optics that performs well. The best rifle scope under 500 dollars will be the scope within a good price range that are really capable of performing at hunting, nature observing and wildlife watching.

You’ll still be able to relish a satisfying and breathtaking hunting experience even with the best scope under 500. This just shows that you can still stay under budget without sacrificing the quality of your rifle scope.

The spotting scopes available in the range of 500 dollars can make your hunting or shooting mission successful since most of them come with worthwhile technical features. Whether you enjoy shooting or an experienced hunter, knowing that scope to choose is one of the most important factors in determining the accuracy of your shot.

PGS on grass

With an assortment of quality, there are numbers of different scopes available with different features making it difficult to choose one, but our reviews will help you choose the right one. The table below shows some of the best rifle scope fewer than $500.

Our Top Picks

Product NameMagnificationObjective lensDurabilityPrice
Millett 6 - 25 X 56 LRS-16x-25x56mmOffers superior brightness, wide field of view, and outstanding accuracyCheck price on Amazon
Nikon MONARCH 3 BDC4x-16x42mmAdjustments are made easy with Spring-Loaded Instant Zero-Reset TurretsCheck price on Amazon
Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16x424x-16x42mmConstructed from a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum for strength and rigidityCheck price on Amazon
Nikon PROSTAFF 5 BCD2.5x -10x40mmA quick focus eyepiece allows the shooter to instantly bring the reticle into focusCheck price on Amazon
Vortex Optics Viper 6.5-20x506.5x-20x50mmThe scope utilizes extra-low dispersion glass to enhance color quality and resolutionCheck price on Amazon
Leupold 110813 VX-24x-12x50mmOffers unsurpassed brightness, clarity, contrast, and resolutionCheck price on Amazon
Zeiss Terra 3X 4-12x50mm3x-9x50mmBallistic-drop compensation hash marks on the lower vertical axis are designed for use with flat shooting magnum-caliber hunting riflesCheck price on Amazon
Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x241x-6 x24 mmMaximizes alignment for improved accuracy and optimum visual performance, as well as ensures strength and waterproofnessCheck price on Amazon
Nikon Prostaff 7 SF M BDC4x-16x42mmMultiple layers of anti-reflective compounds on every glass surface provide bright and vivid sight picturesCheck price on Amazon

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing

The majority of rifle users want the best scope for their rifle in order to help with whatever they are hunting. Learning to shoot with a rifle scope is an extremely useful skill.

Not only is it easier to line up the gun to your target, but it also magnifies your target, making it easier to tell which part of the target you will actually hit. If you don’t know much about rifle scope, you might get intimidated by the varieties available in the market. Choosing a right riflescope is not a straightforward process.

man with rifle

There are a large number of factors that need to go into thought when choosing the right rifle scope. You do not have to go to an expert for that, just read out this article and you will be the owner of a very best quality scope. When choosing a rifle scope, you should consider the below things:

Field of view

The field of view is a very important consideration when buying. The field of view is the amount that you are actually able to see from right to left at a distance through your scope; they are generally measured at every 100 yards. Your field of view can be adjusted, by simply adjusting the magnification of the scope.

view through scope

When using rifle scope, your ability to utilize the scope to its maximum potential will become polished, which will make you a better shooter overall. You’ll be able to sight your target more easily. It will improve your aiming by giving you a better sight of your target.

Level of Magnification

The performance of a scope mostly depends on the magnification. The level of magnification depends on how far you aim to shoot with the rifle. The higher your level of magnification: the sharper, closer and clearer view of the image.

These scopes come in a variety of magnification variables depending on your pursuit. Variable power scopes allow you to choose low magnification for closer shots and high magnification for longer shots depending on their magnification power. They are also useful if the magnification of the target is needed for a clean shot.

Optical capabilities on air rifle scope

These scope types are less complicated than the variable scopes. With a fixed power scope, you don’t have to worry about fiddling with the magnification during a shot because you as a hunter already know how much magnification you have.

You cannot regulate the magnification on fixed scopes like you do on variables scopes so they are only recommended for certain types of firearms and on certain occasions.

Adjustments Range

This is simply how much adjustment does the scope allow internally. All scopes have adjustments for windage, elevation, and focus for the individual shooter’s eye.

Adjustment range scope assists you in sighting in or properly adjusting the scope to hit targets at whatever distances you choose. Adjustment range is vital for accurate targeting, especially in contests.

handgun scope adjustments

Reticles

When you shoot, reticles are the patterns that highlight the point of impact. There are simple cross patterns all the way to complex grid patterns available. The main kinds include Duplex, Mildot and BCD reticles. The reticle also aids the shooter in estimating the distance/range as well as the wind range.

Parallax

Parallax refers to an object appearing to move when looked at from a slightly different angle, though the object did not really move. Powerful scopes should have a parallax adjustment feature, although some of the pricier models come with a side focus that is more practical and easier to handle.

Light Transmission

Light transmission is the amount of light that enters the scope. The more light, the more costly the scope. Having a scope with good light transmission will enable you to hunt through dusk, and will provide you with a clearer, brighter image even in fully lit conditions; thereby making sighting targets a lot more comfortable.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is the distance you can hold your eye back from the scope and still see well enough to shoot. If you are using the rifle correctly, three to four inches is a good distance for your face to be out of the way of any recoil your rifle might do.

scope raticule

A big enough eye relief helps to see even when wearing sunglasses to enjoy the full view. You should always pay attention to the amount of eye relief and exit pupil that a scope offers before buying it.

Objective Lens

The most critical parts of the scope are its lenses. The objective lens makes your images brighter and clearer. The quality of the glass itself, the care with which it was ground to shape, and the quality of the coating applied determine in large part how good a scope is. Make sure your rifle scope lenses are fogproof and waterproof.

Review of the Best Products Currently on the Market

There numerous scopes available in the market made from many reputable manufacturers, which make choosing which of the best scope, depend on your shooting requirements and personal preference.

If you need a scope that won’t break the bank but that you can rely on when you’re out there hunting, our guide will help you easily find the best one. In this price slab, you will get the scope with large objective lens and optics with other good-quality accessories.

Millett 6 – 25 X 56 LRS-1 Illuminated Tactical Scope

Millett LRS-1 Illuminated Side FocusPrice:  Approx. $416

Weight: 19.2 Ounces

Product Dimensions: 7 20 x 5 x 5 inches

Specific Features: Fully multi-coated lens, Large settable windage and elevation knobs, Glass etched Mil-DotBar reticle, Matte black finish T6 aluminum tube, 140 MOA elevation adjustment

Best Use: Clamping, Heavy caliber rifles

The Millett 6-25 X 56 Lrs-1 Riflescope is loaded with features that will make any shooter happy. The Millet 6-25x56mm LRS-1 Long Range Tactical Scope is built with pride for the marksmen who demand top-notch performance and quality to take on the big guns.

The new Millett BK81004 has a 35mm tube for added strength, brightness, and clarity. Positive 1/4 MOA click adjustments for elevation and windage. Ideal for the tactical operator, long-range hunter, and target shooter, the LRS-1 Rifle Scope lends itself to superior brightness and outstanding repeatable accuracy.

The LRS-1 scope can be used for big game hunting, long range target shooting and as a tactical scope for law enforcement.

PROS:

  • Solid product
  • Great elevation capability
  • Illumination good
  • Excellent value
CONS:

  • Ships with rings that is too high

Check the price on Amazon

Nikon Monarch 3 Bdc Riflescope

Nikon Monarch 3 Bdc RiflescopePrice:  Approx. $400

Weight: 19.2 Ounces

Product Dimensions: 4.7 x 5.4 x 20.1 inches

Specific Features: BDC reticle, Spring-Loaded Zero-Reset Turrets, aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, 1/4 MOA windage and elevation adjustments, Spot on Ballistic Match Technology

Best Use: Clamping

The Nikon Monarch 3 BDC Riflescope allows you to line up your target with ultimate accuracy. Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, the riflescope is nitrogen filled and ring sealed for a waterproof and fogproof performance.

The scope contains an easy to reach side focus parallax adjustment for an unrivaled sight image from any shooting spot. With Nikon’s legendary BDC reticles, you’ll never miss again, no matter the distance. The Ultra Clear Coat optics of this Nikon scope provides you with 95% light transmission so that you get clear and bright sight picture.

The flip up caps are cheap junk but the scope is top of the line. If you want a rifle scope that you can depend on to never fail you when you need it most, then look no further than Nikon Monarch 3.

PROS:

  • Lightweight and great eye relief
  • Crisp, bright picture in the optics
  • Great glass and coatings, parallax adjustment
CONS:

  • Large size scope

Check the price on Amazon

Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16×42 Riflescope

Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16x42Price:  Approx. $360

Weight: 18 Ounces

Product Dimensions: 4 x 4 x 12 inches

Specific Features: Dead-Hold BDC Reticle on SFP, Anodized Aluminum Housing, Fully Multicoated Optics, XR and ArmorTek Optical Coatings. Main-TubeDiameter: 1″

Best Use:Hunting

The Diamondback 4-16X42 Hp Riflescope offers a full array of features that discerning hunters are sure to appreciate.  Windage and elevation turrets allow for 1/4 MOA per click shot correction to get you on target, and they are re-settable to zero after your initial sighting.

An easily accessible side focus wheel gives you parallax correction while keeping a trim profile and allowing optimal mounting height. Its aluminum housing has a scratch and corrosion-resistant anodized finish and is argon-filled for water and fogproof performance.

With Vortex’s Dead-Hold BDC reticle, the Diamondback HP is a perfect choice if you want to choose your hunting rifle.

PROS:

  • Mid price ranged scope
  • The scope had awesome clarity
CONS:

  • Little more bulk
  • The crosshair adjustment knobs do not have crisp clicks

Check the price on Amazon

Nikon Prostaff 5 BCD Scope

Nikon PROSTAFF 5 BCD ScopePrice:  Approx. $350

Weight: 24 Ounces

Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 4.7 x 15.8 inches

Specific Features: Spring-loaded Instant Zero-Reset Turrets, BDC Reticle, Quick focus eyepiece, Fully multicoated optics, Designed for Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Match Technology

Best Use: Hunting

The Nikon PROSTAFF 5 BCD Riflescope features the lines mid-level magnification and several technology upgrades that will satisfy even the most demanding hunters. This scope also has a multicoated optics setup that helps you see better in many situations.

This scope is also loaded with features like hand-turn, ¼-m.o.a. windage and elevation adjustments that incorporate spring-loaded, zero-reset turrets. The Nikon PROSTAFF 5 outfitted with the BDC reticle is an ideal fit for a variety of hunting situations and can be used with Nikon Spot on Ballistic Match Technology to take the guesswork out of compensating for bullet drop.

Check carefully to see how well this can work on your rifle by seeing if your rifle has a body that can support it.

PROS:

  • Fast focus
  • Price for what you get
  • Low light acquisition
CONS:

  • Little more bulk
  • The crosshair adjustment knobs do not have crisp clicks

Check the price on Amazon

Vortex Optics Viper 6.5-20×50 BDC

Vortex Optics Viper 6.5-20x50 BDCPrice:  Approx. $460

Weight: 21.6 Ounces

Product Dimensions: 40.9 x 11.4 x 9.9 cm

Specific Features: 30mm One-piece aluminum main tube, Argon purging for water and fogproof performance, XD glass with XR multi-layer coatings, MAG-View Adjustment Lever

Best Use: Clamping

If you must shoot with great precision and at a high magnification, make things easier by looking through the Vortex Optics viper 6.5 20×50 BDC. The one-piece construction makes this device extremely durable and practically immune to heavy recoil.

It’s configured with a 1/4 MOA clicks and 68 MOA of travel, a Mil-Dot reticle, and a matte black finish that are very easy to operate by hand. If you need another scope Vortex 6.5 20×50 BDC should be where to look first, for the money this scope is ridiculously good.

PROS:

  • Good optic for the money
  • Excellent light transmission
CONS:

  • Potentially inadequate eye relief at higher magnifications
  • Weight, lack of long range elevation adjustments (moa)

Check the price on Amazon

Leupold 110813 VX-2 Rifle Scope

Leupold 110813 VX-2 Rifle ScopePrice:  Approx. $480

Weight: 14.6 ounces

Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.2 x 3 inches

Specific Features: 1/4 MOA Impact Point Correction, 70 MOA Windage & Elevation, Tactile power indicator, 1″ tube diameter fits a wide range of riflescope rings, Rugged construction

Best Use: Hunting

The Leupold 110813 VX-2 Rifle Scope series offers new features that take this scope and your shooting ability to the next level.  The riflescope is a 2nd generation argon/krypton waterproofing, generous eye box with index matched lens system, externally threaded fast-focus eyepiece, and tactile power selector.

It is waterproof, allowing it to function well even in adverse weather conditions and a generous eyepiece makes it more comfortable to sight in. This hunting rifle scope has an attractive silver finish and is made with 6016-T6 aircraft-quality aluminum for results that are both lightweight and durable. The Leupold VX-2 is built to meet the demands of today’s serious hunters and shooters.

PROS:

  • Very clear optics
  • Simple and reliable reticle
  • Great low light performance
CONS:

  • The windage adjustment click is not at all crisp

Check the price on Amazon

Zeiss Terra 3X 4-12x50mm Riflescope

Zeiss Terra 3X 4-12x50mmPrice:  Approx. $400

Weight: 17.5 Ounces

Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 4 x 4 inches

Specific Features: Standard hunting turrets with ¼ M.O.A adjustments, 100% repeatability, 1″ main tube construction, Nitrogen filled for waterproof & fogproof use, Z-Plex Reticle, SFP

Best Use: Clamping

The Zeiss Terra 3x 4-12x50mm Riflescope has been created to be the perfect scope for any shooter. The Zeiss Terra Riflescope combines a versatile magnification range with a large objective to create an optic ideally suited for mid to long-range use with excellent low-light performance.

The Terra 3x comes with the W-Plex reticle placed on the rear focal plane. It is rugged and compact, making it an ideal addition when upgrading to a dependable and quality accessory.

The Terra 3x 4-12x50mm is the perfect scope for almost any environment.  Match your preferred hunting style and location with the right reticle by choosing Zeiss Terra 3x 4-12x50mm Riflescope.

PROS:

  • Holds zero
  • Excellent scope for the price
  • A super clear, well-constructed scope
CONS:

  • The windage adjustment click is not at all crisp

Check the price on Amazon

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6×24 Rifle Scope

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle ScopePrice:  Approx. $330

Weight: 17.6 Ounces

Product Dimensions: 14.0 x 4.4 x 4.2 Inches

Specific Features: Fully multi-coated, Hard anodized finish, Capped reset turrets, Fast focus eyepiece, Illuminated reticle

Best Use: Clamping

The Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6×24 Rifle Scope is designed specifically for semi-automatic modern sporting rifles in mind. It comes with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all of its air to glass surfaces increasing the scope’s light transmission.

The Vortex Optics Strike Eagle is made of single-piece tube construction cut from aircraft-grade aluminum with a tube size of 30mm. The scope is also waterproof, fog proof and shockproof due to its O-ring seals, nitrogen gas purging over a wide range of temperatures and rugged construction that withstands recoil and impact.

The reticle is also illuminated to provide precise aiming under low-light conditions. A fast focus eyepiece allows quick and easy reticle focusing on finding your target faster.

Includes removable lens covers, lens cloth, and one CR2032 battery. If you are looking for speed and versatility, Vortex Optics Strike Eagle rifle scope is the scope for you.

PROS:

  • Illuminated reticle
  • Great for quick shooting
  • Clear glass and bold reticle
CONS:

  • Low magnification
  • There is no parallax adjustment

Check the price on Amazon

Nikon Prostaff 7 SF M BDC Rifle Scopes

Nikon Prostaff 7 SF MPrice:  Approx. $491

Weight:  1.3 pounds

Product Dimensions: 14.0 x 4.4 x 4.0 Inches

Specific Features: Hand-turn ¼ – M.O.A. click windage and elevation adjustments, 4-x zoom range, Spring Loaded zero-reset turret function, Quick focus eyepiece, Fully Multicoated Lenses

Best Use: Clamping

The Nikon Prostaff 7 M BDC Rifle Scope provides superior performance at a comparatively affordable price.  The scope is engineered to offer maximum light transmission and deliver up to 95% for incredibly and clear sharp sight picture between dawn and dusk.

A quick-focus eyepiece lets you focus sharply at various ranges, and a generous eye relief keeps the eyepiece away from the shooter’s forehead during recoil. The riflescope is waterproof, fog proof and shockproof.

The Prostaff 7 M BDC rifle Scope is a dream comes true for hunters who’ve been looking for a high quality, do-it-all scope that they can pair with rifles and use reliably year after year.

PROS:

  • Clear optics
  • Great long range scope, clear and good quality
CONS:

  • Mounting issues

Check the price on Amazon

Final Thoughts

Choosing a scope for a lower budget does not necessarily mean you are sacrificing a high-quality rifle scope. With a large number of choices available on the market, finding the best rifle scope can be a challenge, especially if you are looking for the right scope for under $500.

The perfect way to approach the worries of purchasing your riflescope is being clear on the certain features you need and seeking them out. Remember that the best rifle scope for you is the one that can satisfy your needs.

aim through scope

If you’ve already chosen one, it will be beneficial to let us know the perks and drawbacks of the scope you have purchased by commenting below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Benton

Mike Benton

Mike is a hunter since he was 6 years old and his father would take him to Alaska or British Columbia. He realized that the difference in gear that you have might have a big impact on how much game will you carry home. Later he decided to share his valuable experience with our readers to help you to choose the proper gear for hunting and outdoors.