SCOPES

Best Shotgun Scope: Shooting for Accuracy

Scopes for shotguns
Nick Stucker
Written by Nick Stucker

We all agree that it is very important to get that perfect shot but that kind of precision is hard to achieve with the naked eye. Therefore, the addition of a scope to your shotgun can tremendously improve your chances at achieving the best shot.

Some have laughed it off as unnecessary, but with a good quality scope, you will never regret using it. It will give you another reason to look forward to your next hunting expedition.Some people may still prefer to use iron sights, but more people consider scopes to be the superior option. The best shotgun scopes have been designed with modern technology and with efficient and quality materials, important factors that ensure durability.

The scope is usually mounted on the shotgun to give it a better sight of your target. It makes a dramatic difference on eye relief for you as the shooter. However, it can prove difficult to choose one of the very many scopes available on the market today. Below are a few of the factors that you should consider when purchasing the best shotgun scope, what will guide you as you make the best decision.

Product NameSpecial FeaturesPrice
Nikon ProStaff Hunter2x – 7x magnification, 32mm objective lens, BDC 200 reticule, zero reset turretsCheck price on Amazon
Bushnell Trophy XLT Bone Collector3x – 9x magnification, waterproof, fog proof, shock proof, fast focus eyepieceCheck price on Amazon
Remington 870/870 ExpressAluminum saddle mount, fully multicoated lenses, picatinny railCheck price on Amazon
Simmons ProHunter4x magnification, multicoated lenses, true zero windage and elevation adjustment systemCheck price on Amazon
BSA 30mm Red Dot5 MOA red dot sight with 11 position rheostatCheck price on Amazon
Truglo Red-dot sight5 MOA, shock resistant anti-reflective interior, integrated weaver mounting systemCheck price on Amazon
Nikon SlugHunter BDC 2003x – 9x magnification, BDC 200 reticule, fully multicoated optics, spot – on ballistic match technologyCheck price on Amazon

Factors to Consider Before Purchase

Before we dig deep into any particular scopes, let’s take a moment to look over some of the features that you should have on your mind when picking out a scope.  While all of these are good to have, you’ll have to prioritize which are the most important for your particular style of shooting.

Durability

This is a top priority on the list. It is certain that nobody wants to keep going back to buy a new scope simply because the last one did not last. Therefore, you need to ensure that the material used to make the product is tough enough to get you through any situation. It should be able to withstand a dreaded fall or scratching that would change its operation.

Clarity

You should make sure that the scope will help you tell the difference between your target and other background paraphernalia. It is pointless to spend a lot of money just to get a scope that is no different than using your naked eye. Scopes designs with multi-coated lenses give a sharp and bright image. So be diligent in identifying specifications that outline how clear a scope may be.

Magnification Power

Even with just a slight magnification, a scope will greatly help your aim. So, you do not need to have one with high magnification because with a shotgun, you don’t need long distance reconnaissance.

Razor Red Dot

Some scopes on the market will feature variable magnification, allowing you to zoom in or out from your target.

Cost

There is a common phrase stating that a cheap item is expensive but we must acknowledge that pricey things also don’t always deliver as expected. Check if this scope meets other requirements to ensure that you are not just purchasing the brand name.  If you are considering buying an expensive one, make sure that the company making the product is reputable. Consider other advantages like the warranty which tells you how much faith the manufacturer has in its products.

The Reticle

It is the aiming point that is projected onto the objective lens while shooting. It is illuminated to make it easy to hit your target. Therefore, it is necessary to know the type of reticle you need. Some are just a simple dot while others are more sophisticated in design e.g. cross, star or bullseye. You should choose the reticule based on your needs, to explain this, to shoot from a farther distance, a smaller dot would be the best while a larger dot would work well for close a close range shot.

Keep it Simple

With the ever changing face of technology today, there is always a new additional feature on many devices. Many of which one feels that they must have to ensure they are updated. Some of the features are complicated, and if you don’t understand them, it will render your scope useless. Unless this feature is necessary, don’t spend too much trying to keep up instead, ensure that the crucial ones are present on your gadget.

Legal Requirements

It will depend on an individual state because the laws vary. Make sure you know about the requirements of anyone purchasing or already in possession of this item. Ensure that you are allowed to own it.

Razor Red Dot

It is important to add that a scope that has a shiny housing is a disadvantage because it can easily be spotted. The sun may shine on it creating a glint that will give you away to your target. It is better to use a scope that has matte or camouflage finish.

What are the Advantages of Using a Shotgun Scope?

It reduces your eye strain

Whether you have the best kind of vision ability, have bad eyesight or age is catching up, using a shotgun to aim and hit a target can be strenuous. A scope will reduce this strain by making it easier to focus on the target and allows you to shoot with the at most precision. It will make the whole experience fun and rewarding.

There is no need for sight alignment

You do not need to align your shot when you are using a mounted scope. A unique feature is known as crosshairs which point exactly where the bullet will hit makes it possible. It is a unique advantage when using a shotgun scope.

It gives good lighting

While aiming, one needs good light. In case you are shooting in dark conditions, a scope helps to solve this problem with unique features that improve the situation.

It helps with the tilting issue

If you are among the people that have to keep tilting their shotgun, you do not have to worry anymore. The scope will help you maintain your aiming point with the aid of the crosshairs to maintain the desired level.

Leupold VX-2 3-9x40 package

As you keep practicing, you will not have to deal the same problem over and over again.

Magnification benefits

Magnification will give the precise view of your target and enable you to make a nice clean shot. It is what every shooter or hunter hopes to have. A scope will give you the magnification unlike when you use the naked eye.

Fixed or Variable Scope?

The fixed scope is considered compact, durable and visually superior. It is also popular because of the fair pricing that many can afford. Its durability is due to the quality material used to construct it to withstand adverse conditions that you may encounter in the outdoors. However, it is impossible to adjust. Thus, you have to use it in a fixed position. The best shotgun scopes in the fixed category are anything between 2x and 5x magnification.

The variable kind does not dictate the distance or the situation on which you can use it. The best shotgun scopes in the variable category are anything between 1x and 4x magnification.

Top Products on the Market Today

With the information given above, we have covered the basics that you should consider before making your purchase. Now let’s review the top products on the market, so you will have a better understanding and a buying guide for choosing the best shotgun scope for you.

Nikon ProStaff Shotgun Hunter

Nikon ProStaff Shotgun HunterPrice: Approx. $150

Magnification: 2x – 7x

Diensions: 15.5 x 4 x 3.5 in

Weight: 13.9 oz

Specific features: 2x – 7x magnification, 32 mm objective lens, BDC 200 reticle, zero reset turrets, fully multi-coated lens

Best use: Hunting

The Nikon ProStaff Shotgun Hunter has a multi-coated optics system that gives you a bright and sharp image by providing the maximum light transmission both in daylight and at night. It allows clarity, precision, and accuracy when aiming and shooting at a target.

It has zero-reset turrets, a unique feature that allows you to aim with ease at a perfect range. This shotgun scope has a BDC 200 reticule that is designed to offer you the best trajectory. There is no guesswork because you instantly get the aiming points whether in short or long range.

The Nikon technology has lived up to its name as seen and felt by anyone who has used their devices. You experience the promise of efficiency and reliability. It is moderately priced yet delivers as well as some of the most expensive devices of this kind on the market.

The body is made of polymer materials that ensure its durability even in the most adverse conditions. It has O – ring seals that ensure that this gadget is waterproof and the internal atmosphere is filled with nitrogen to ensure a fog – proof performance. Another interesting feature is the quick focus eyepiece and parallax setting to 100 yards.

PROS:

  • Easy to install
  • Easy to use and adjust
  • High-quality optics for clear view
  • Waterproof, fog proof
  • Great value for money

CONS:

  • You have to buy the mounting rail to fit your shotgun

Related: As the Nikon ProStaff Shotgun Hunter Riflescope is an entry level scope, it does not come with mounting rings, so you will have to additionally get those. The recommended ones are the Accushot Picatinny/Weaver Medium Profile Rings. They fit all Picatinny/Weaver rings, have hex screws and a ring diameter of 1 inch that fits perfectly on the Nikon ProStaff Shotgun Hunter Riflescope.

Check the price on Amazon

Bushnell Trophy Bone Collector Edition

Bushnell Trophy XLT bone collectorPrice: Approx. $110

Magnification: 3x – 9x

Dimensions: 14 x 3 x 3 in

Weight: 12.6 oz

Specific features: Fully waterproof, fog proof and shockproof, Fully multicoated lenses, fast-focus eyepiece, ¼ MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments

Best use: Hunting

The Bushnell Trophy Bone Collector Edition features a fully multi – coated optic system with 40 mm objective lens and allow for an impressive 91% light transmission and high contrast. It makes it easy to tell the difference between your target and the surrounding.

The multi-coated lenses also have a rain guard. This riflescope has the magnification power of 3x to 9x and comes in the black matte finish.

This device is best for the deer and turkey hunting. Thanks to the fast-focus eyepiece, you will not miss the swift movement of the deer while in the field. It has dominated the market with its superior specifications for a long time now.

The body is made from sturdy one – piece tube and is totally waterproof with O – ring seals; filled with nitrogen for fog – proof performance. The Bushnell Trophy shotgun scope not only has an attractive appearance but is built with suitable material that allows it to serve you for longer.

The lightweight material makes it easy to carry around, even in long distance. It also has a unique feature known as the Butler Creek flip-up caps that aid you to see clearly and also protect the lenses from precipitation.

PROS:

  • Easy to adjust and use
  • Fully multi – coated optics
  • Waterproof, fog proof, shock proof
  • Protective lens caps

CONS:

  • Doesn’t come with mounting rail

Related: When buying the Bushnell Trophy XLT Riflescope, you should get the appropriate mounting rings: the recommended ones being the Accushot Picatinny/Weaver Medium Profile Rings. They fit all Picatinny/Weaver rings; have hex screws and a ring diameter of 1 inch that fits perfectly with the Bushnell Trophy Riflescope.

Check the price on Amazon

Remington 870/870 Express Shotgun Scope

Remington 870x870 Shotgun ScopePrice: Approx. $120

Weight: 19 oz

Specific features: Aluminum saddle mount, full picatinny, 100% waterproof and fog proof, high definition fully multicoated lenses, rigid recoil absorbing scope platform

Best use: Sports shooting and hunting

The Remington 870/870 Express Shotgun Scope has one of the best multi-coated visual systems on the market. The lenses are a high definition that enables a crystal-clear view of your target and field of view.

Like other products from Sun Optics USA, this product has the finest aluminum material that has been tried and tested to withstand the hardest of conditions.

The multicoated HD lenses have nitrogen gas internal atmosphere making them fully waterproof, fog proof and shockproof. It has an eye relief that protects the user from any harm on the eyebrows in the case of a heavy shooting.

The Remington 870/870 Express Shotgun Scope is made by Sun Optics USA, and you get their lifetime guarantee. NOTE: When looking for a shotgun scope, it is important to look for one with long eye relief, and a one with short eye relief puts the eye too close to the scope and this can result in a black eye.

This particular model has 6-inch eye relief, putting the eye at a safe distance from the scope during shooting. The Remington 870/870 comes with its own mounting rail that fits nicely over your shotgun. It also comes with lens protection caps and cleaning cloth.

PROS:

  • Nice, clear optics
  • Easy to install and use
  • Waterproof, fog proof
  • Relatively Inexpensive

CONS:

  • A bit on the heavy side

Related: An interesting addition to this purchase would be the P2M In-Chamber Laser Boresight, 12 Gauge. It is made of aircraft grade aluminum, has a Class IIIA, 5mV laser and is the highest quality affordable bore sight out there. So, don’t waste ammo and get yourself a laser bore sight.

Check the price on Amazon

Simmons Pro Hunter Shotgun Scope

Simmons ProHunter ScopePrice: Approx. $55

Magnification: 4x

Weight: 8.6 oz

Specific features: 4x magnification, multicoated lenses, objective lens of 32 mm, true zero windage and elevation adjustment system

Best uses: Hunting

The Simmons Pro Hunter ProDiamond Scope has a beautiful design and is built to last with the high-quality material in its construction. It is protected by the nitrogen-filled housing to prevent fog and also has an O-ring seal that does not allow water to get into the device.

It is a budget-friendly device made of excellent optics that gives you a clear field of view. It has an advantage in that it can is used with a handgun or rifle making this a plus for multiple gun owners. Adjustment of power specifications is also easy.

It has a raised tab on the power change ring that is easy for you to grip. It has a 4x magnification ability. This gadget has amazing HD clarity thanks to the multicoated lenses.

Another important detail to note is recoil-proof that can resist up to 1000 rounds from a powerful rifle. Eye-relief is taken care of by the quick target acquisition eyepiece that makes the focus and aiming onto a target much easier.

The Simmons ProHunter ProDiamond Shotgun Scope is light in weight, and this makes portability easy and very convenient.

PROS:

  • Easy adjustment and use
  • Inexpensive
  • Waterproof, fog proof, recoil – proof

CONS:

  • Short eye relief
  • Doesn’t come with mounting ring

Related: When considering the Simmons ProHunter Reticule Shotgun Scope, you should know that it comes without the mounting rings. So to rectify this situation, you should get the Accushot Picatinny/Weaver Medium Profile Rings that fit perfectly over this scope.

Check the price on Amazon

BSA Red Dot Scope

BSA 30MM Red Dot ScopePrice: Approx. $30

Magnification: None

Dimensions: 5.2 x 4.8 x 3 in

Weight: 9.6 oz

Specific features: Standard 3 volt lithium batteries, brightness control, 5 MOA red dot with 11 position rheostat.

Best use: Sport shooting

It is manufactured by BSA, a USA based company. The BSA Red Dot Sight is simple but still efficient. For medium range targets, the BSA is perfect as its features work wonderfully in this condition.

The 5/8-3/8 adjustable mounting system is ideal for pistols, bows, rifles, crossbows and the shotguns making it attractive convenient to the gun lovers and owners. The brightness control ability allows you to adjust the lighting to the amount that you prefer.

It is crucial to note that if the red dot is out of focus, all you need to do is reduce the brightness setting and you are ready to go. The eye relief for BSA is not automatic as you will be required to move the sight back and forth to achieve what suits you best.

PROS:

  • Very affordable price
  • Easy so use
  • Shockproof
  • Good battery life

CONS:

  • No magnification
  • Mount not so secure

Related: If you are considering getting the BSA 30mm red dot scope, you should consider getting a replacement battery for it. The changing of the battery is fairly straightforward, just lift the battery lid and replace the battery, we recommend the Energizer 3 Volt Lithium.

Check the price on Amazon

Truglo Red-Dot Sight

Truglo Red-Dot SightPrice: Approx. $65

Dimensions: 9 x 5.8 x 2 in

Weight: 7 oz

Specific features: 5 MOA reticule, shock resistance, adjustable rheostat for brightness control, anti-reflective interior, integrated weaver-style mounting system

Best use: Sport shooting

The Truglo Red-Dot Sight has been designed with a 5 MOA reticle that helps you with range sighting and aiming at a target. One of the most outstanding features is the unlimited eye relief which means that no matter how close or far the scope is to your face, there is not a chance of any injury.

Whether you are a newcomer in the hunting field or a seasoned shooter, operating this device is quite simple. It also has a great optical system that offers clarity and good accuracy as you shoot with the help of multicoated lenses.

The special anti-reflective interior eliminates any possibility of unwanted light from appearing inside the scope. It will ease shooting especially when the sun is dazzling.

You can also access a full field of view that will allow sight of all present hurdles when aiming at a target. It has an integrated lanyard system which will prevent the loss of screw-down. To top it all, it offers you a lifetime limited warranty.

This sight has see – thru flip up lens caps, and integrated Weaver-style mounting system. The battery is included, and it comes with limited lifetime warranty.

PROS:

  • Inexpensive
  • Shock resistant, waterproof
  • Easy to use
  • Battery included

CONS:

  • No magnification
  • No Picatinny rail mount

Related item: If you are considering buying this product, you should know that it does not come with a Picatinny rail mount, and it is recommended that you get one of those. A suggested purchase is the Mossberg 500/590 Series Shotgun Picatinny Rail Mount.

Check the price on Amazon

Nikon Slughunter BDC 200 Riflescope

 Nikon Slughunter BDC 200 RiflescopePrice: Approx. $165

Magnification: 3x – 9x

Dimensions: 15.8 x 4.7 x 3.1 in

Weight: 14.7 oz

Specific features: 5-inch eye relief, patented BDC 200 reticule with an open circle design, multicoated optics, Zero-Reset turrets, spot-on ballistic match technology.

Best uses: Hunting

Nikon has been known by many as a manufacturer that always delivers high-quality products. The Nikon Slughunter BDC 200 Riflescope has zero turrets that are easily adjustable using the automatic resets which work instantly.

This contributes to speed and accuracy while working with the device. It also has easy adjustments for the windage and elevation whose work is ensuring that you get the best images of everything in the surrounding while shooting.

It features a patented BDC 200 reticule that has an open circle design that allows for perfect long range shooting. The spot-on ballistic match technology optimizes the reticule.

The accuracy of using this gadget is estimated to be about 50 to 100 yards. With a 3x to 9x magnification, you can be assured that clarity is guaranteed. The objective lens has 40mm objective.

The Nikon Slughunter has a 5-inch eye relief that makes focusing less strenuous and protects the eye against hard recoil. This riflescope has quick focus eyepiece, and that paired with fully multicoated optics allow for the bright and precise image.

It also features the Spot On Ballistic Match Technology. It is waterproof, fog proof and shock proof.

PROS:

  • Easy to use
  • Bright optics
  • Waterproof, fog proof, shock proof
  • 3x to 9x magnification

CONS:

  • No mounting rings provided

Related: If you are thinking of buying this scope, it is recommended that you get suitable mounting rings so you can easily fit it on your shotgun. The recommended mounting rings are the Warne 1 Inch Maxima Tpa Scope Rings. They come in matte black finish and they fit all Weaver style scope bases. Along with this, you can get the Evolution Gun Works Scope Base Shortened Picatinny Rail, so you can fit your new scope.

Check the price on Amazon

Final Thoughts

You can be sure that using a scope with your shotgun will change your hunting or sporting experience. Therefore, it is important that you invest in a good quality gun optic. First, ensure that you do as much research as you can by looking at what is common in all them available.

View through a Leupold VX-2 3-9x40

Note what is unique to each one and how useful this feature will be in your shooting needs. Keep in mind that some shotgun scopes may suit some hunting situations better than others.

Use the detailed reviews above and maybe consult a person with extensive experience. More importantly, you should make your choice based on your personal needs and of course the available budget.

The products reviewed above are from trusted and reputable companies, but this does not mean you should ignore those from new and smaller companies. Technology changes very fast and new innovators should have an equal chance in the field. All you need is knowledge of what they have to offer.

Lastly, let us know which choice you went with and why in the comment section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Stucker
Nick Stucker

Nick is passionate about weapons. He likes history of companies like Colt or Lockheed Martin, but also latest scopes, binoculars and laser sighters on the market and everything in between. Nick writes about different gear that could be useful during hunting, astrophotography, night vision or just for self-defence.

  • Tyler Wallace

    For awhile, I have been trying to get my uncle to try a scope on his shotgun. I think the TRUGLO red-dot sight is probably the best thing for him. However, I know he wants something crisp and clear when it comes to sights. Can anyone speak on the clarity of red dot sights like the ones mentioned above?

  • Nick Stucker

    As far as red dot sights are concerned, the Truglo Red-Dot sight is a good choice for most applications. It comes with many amazing features, including the anti-reflective interior and integrated weaver-style mounting.

  • Anthony Gonzalez

    My younger sons are finally the age/sense of responsibility for going on hunting trips with their dad, uncles, grandpa, older brothers and cousins. They have been practicing often to help build their sense of comfort with rifles, pistols and shotguns. I was wondering if the Simmons Pro Hunter ProDiamond Scope is a good hunting scope for a young man with a smaller stature in size?

    • Jessica Wilson

      As a mum of 3 boys, who like to hunt, I can recommend you to find a scope, which is compact in size and easy to use. But, my biggest advice to you is to choose a device, which is shockproof, waterproof and fog proof. The point is that kids are not very attentive, so they need to play only with those “toys”, which are hard to break. Just look at Nikon Slughunter Bdc 200 Riflescope, it meets all these requirements.

  • Brian Waters

    My children range from 5 to 25 years old. I want to eventually train all of them in properly handling and utilizing different kinds of weapons. I just got a new shotgun with a bonus I received at work and I want to shop for a good quality scope for it that is durable and affordable enough that if any of us drop the scope, we won’t be too heart-broken if it stops being battle ready. Would the Nikon Slughunter BDC 200 Riflescope be a good option for a family with varying ages of children using the scope?

  • Nick Stucker

    Wow! That’s a good decision to train your kids to shoot. Well, the Nikon Slughunter BDC 200 is a good scope. It comes with resourceful features and it is durable.

  • Nick Stucker

    If you consider similar or competing models, the Simmons Pro Hunter ProDiamond Scope is considerably lightweight. Your young man should be able to use it with fewer difficulties.

  • Anton Pasenko

    TRUGLO RED-DOT SIGHT has an original design and it is low priced. So, probably I’ll purchase it. This article states that this shotgun scope is waterproof, but I read one customer review, where a man claimed that this device got moist inside of it in the rain. Is it really possible?

  • Nick Stucker

    The manufacturer states that the Truglo Red Dot Sight is waterproof and fogproof. However, the product may present some significant fog problems when exposed to extreme conditions.

  • Nick Stucker

    I for one would not buy a $200 hunting scope and allow my kids to abuse it. However, the Nikon Slughunter BDC 200 Riflescope is a highly rated riflescope that delivers failsafe performance.

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