SCOPES

Best Shotgun Scopes for Deer Hunting: Zooming in on Deer

Deer-hunting-shotgun-scopes
Nick Stucker
Written by Nick Stucker

If you are passionate about hunting and specifically deer hunting, then sooner or later you will need a shotgun scope, and it will be in your best interest to find the one that best suits you. There are many shotgun scopes on the market so you should do a bit of shopping around before purchasing one.

If you are a first timer, then you should do some research and there are many websites and reviews that may be very helpful. If you are a seasoned hunter, then you should narrow your search down to what you really need and the distance and range of view you would like to cover.

To find that best shotgun scope can be an overwhelming challenge for the first-time users. One needs to be familiar with the important features and know what to look for in a certain particular shotgun scope. Most of these products are expensive, so avoid the regret thereafter of choosing the wrong scope that does not satisfy your needs.

In this article, we have reviewed the best shotgun scopes and emphasized the imperative features that are worth considering. Firstly, let’s start with the table below highlights the key differences between these scopes. Subsequently, we will delve into the important things to consider before buying in order to narrow your search.

Product nameObjective lens (mm)WeightMagnificationPrice
Bushnell Trophy XLT Circle-X Reticle401.2 pounds3-9xCheck price on Amazon
Nikon ProStaff Shotgun Hunter321.6 pounds2-7xCheck price on Amazon
Simmons Prohunter Shotgun Scope321.1 pounds4xCheck price on Amazon
Remington 870/870 Express Shotgun Scope201.7 pounds2.5xCheck price on Amazon
Truglo Compact Strut N Rut Scope321 pound4xCheck price on Amazon
BSA 30mm Red Dot Scope309.6 ouncesn/aCheck price on Amazon
Nikon Slughunter BDC 200401.5 pounds3-9xCheck price on Amazon
BSA Deer Hunter 2.5×20 Scope208 ounces2.5xCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider before Buying

If you are hoping to purchase a shotgun scope then you should purchase one that has the right features and is affordable enough to meet your budget. It is a good idea to choose one that is user-friendly, functionally and technologically advanced.

The best criterion to use in assessing these scopes is to be familiar with their important aspects such as the ones we have discussed hereunder:

Optics

Every hunter should be able to clearly see the target because that is a priority and that means you should ensure that you have very good optics. You should consider any device that has HD quality and there are a few that provide 100 % HD quality.

Illuminators

Since you will be hunting in different lighting conditions then you will need to be able to adjust the brightness level.

11 brightness levels scope

So you should consider a riflescope that comes with an adjustable rheostat that will allow you to determine the best lighting condition. There are devices with up to 11 brightness levels or more.

Durability

When purchasing a shotgun scope, you should always look for one that will last for a long time. The best choices are those devices that come nitrogen filled, multi-coated, and are water resistant, fog and shockproof. This is extremely important since hunting conditions are sometimes harsh and unfavorable.

Ease of Access & Versatility

Be sure to purchase a shotgun scope that is light enough to be carried around without hassle.

man looking through scope

Additionally, if you are purchasing a shotgun scope that comes with a mount be sure that it is lightweight and a good option would be to purchase one that is versatile and allows the user to mount it to a number of weapons instead of just one as this will save you an additional purchase, should you decide to change your weapon in the future.

Eye Relief

It is important that your shotgun scope has a good eye relief system. Some shotgun scopes come with 3-3.5 eye relief but the better ones generally come with more than 3.5 inches and can be used with more powerful weapons that have greater recoil.

These devices tend to be safer and will prevent the user from getting a ‘scope eye’ or any kind of scope related injury.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Now that you have a good idea of what to look for in a scope, we’ll move onto to some specific models.  We have highlighted a number of the best models out there today.  While any of these could be a great pick, you’ll have to examine each and find the one that best meshes with your hunting style.

Bushnell Trophy XLT Circle-X ReticleBushnell Trophy XLT Circle-X Reticle

Price: Approx. $250

Weight: 1.2 pounds

Dimensions:  3 x 3 x 14 inches

Specific Features: fully multi-coated optics, Butler Creek flip-open scope covers, dry nitrogen filled, one-piece tube w/integrated saddle, 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments

Best Use: Deer hunting, sport shooting

The Bushnell Trophy XLT Circle-X Reticle is one of the leading shotgun scopes on the market. It is extremely popular among reviewers and is one of the brands that have become synonymous with shotgun scopes.

It is versatile and can be used by hunters, sports shooters, and military personnel. It comes with a 91 percent light transmission that allows the user to clearly see the object in poor lighting.

This scope also comes with fully multicoated optics that make viewing easier and it has an ultra-strong one piece tube that makes it high quality. It is important to note that it comes with nitrogen coated Butler Creek flip-open scope covers that are fog and water resistant.

It is durable and is encased in a shock resistant exterior that will greatly benefit the user. It comes with a 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments that permit the user to see clearly from just about any location and especially mounted areas. This, however, is a short range scope that is suited for short distant hunting.

PROS:

  • Has a maximum light transmission to enable crisp images of the deer
  • Comes with the fully multi-coated optics and one-piece tube
  • Nitrogen coated Butler Creek flip-open covers that characterize the scope’s waterproof and fog proof performance
  • Design with the shock-resistant exterior body that is also non-slippery and durable
  • Features ¼ MOA fingertip elevation and windage adjustments. This makes it convenient to use the scope on any terrain.

CONS:

  • It is more suited for short-distance hunting

Related: If your budget is not fit for the above scope, you may temporarily consider the Bushnell Trophy XLT DOA Reticle Riflescope that comes with the magnification range of 2-7x and the objective lens diameter of 36mm. It is much cheaper under $100 but obviously has inferior features compared to the above scope, which is more advanced.

Check the price on Amazon

Nikon ProStaff Shotgun HunterNikon ProStaff Shotgun Hunter

Price: Approx. $160

Weight: 1.6 pounds

Dimensions: 15.5 x 4 x 3.5 inches; 13.8 ounces

Design Features: 2x to 7x magnification, 32mm objective lens, BDC 200 reticle, 3.8 inches of eye relief, fully multicoated lenses

Best Use: Deer Hunting

The Nikon ProStaff Shotgun Hunter is a riflescope that comes with a number of features that will give you value for money. This device comes with 98% light transmission that enhances viewing by illuminating objects in extremely poor lighting.

Additionally, the Nikon ProStaff Shotgun Hunter BDC 200 as the name suggests comes with a BDC 200 reticle with easy-to-see ballistic circles that provide instant aiming points which make it easier for the hunter to see and target the desired objects.

This device can be easily carried because it weighs a little over a pound and it is versatile enough to be used with a number of weapons ranging from rifles and shotguns to muzzleloaders.

The slug gun riflescope with 2x to 7x magnification and 32mm objective lens give the user the advantage of viewing things clearly from up to a 200-yard range.

The nitrogen filled tube also makes it water and fog resistant so that user will be able to use under less than ideal conditions. It is important to note that this device can withstand the power of a slug gun and most other rifles by extension.

PROS:

  • It is a versatile scope that can be fitted on a range of guns
  • Features the BDC 200 reticle that enables it to provide instant aiming points
  • Has a wide magnification range of 2-7x that will help you choose the desired magnification level for certain viewing distances in order to reveal the finer details of your deer
  • The eye relief of over 3.8 inches is fairly competitive especially for those using protective eyeglasses.
  • The objective lens diameter is also large enough to enhance maximum light transmission

CONS:

  • The 200 yard as the maximum viewing range may be insufficient on wide fields
  • The design not sturdy enough for extreme climatic conditions

Related: For ease of installation and secure fit of this scope on your shotgun, we recommend the High Profile Picatinny/Weaver Rings because of their premium quality. They are made with the aircraft-grade aluminum alloy with the anodized black matte finish. This added product is quite inexpensive, so it shouldn’t be a problem at all.

Check the price on Amazon

Simmons Prohunter Shotgun ScopeSimmons Prohunter Shotgun Scope

Price: Approx. $55

Weight:  1.1 pounds

Dimensions: 14.4 x 3.2 x 3.2 inches

Design Features: 4x magnification, 32mm objective lens, multi-coated optics, true zero windage and elevation adjustment, 4 inches of eye relief

Best Use:  Hunting, Long range viewingsport shooting

The Simmons ProHunter Shotgun Scope is guaranteed to enhance viewing and provide some of the clearest images. This device comes with some of the most advanced and utilitarian features that will definitely meet the needs of the user.

This riflescope comes with 4x magnification and 32mm objective lens, Multi-coated optics, and high-quality optical glass.  Additionally, the high-quality optics project HD clarity that is ideal for hunters and those involved in sports shooting.

Simmons ProHunter ProDiamond Reticle Shotgun Scope also comes with TrueZero windage and elevation adjustment system that allows the user to clearly view the object despite the location.

It can be used in a downpour or in low visibility because it is water and fog resistant. This scope is durable because it is designed to function under some of the harshest conditions.

PROS:

  • Multi coated optics for clearer and crisper images of the deer
  • The eye relief is sufficiently large to let you use the scope without the need to take off your eyeglasses because your eyes will be further away from the scope lenses.
  • Can withstand harsh temperatures because of the fog proof and the waterproof features of the design
  • Affordable and inexpensive scope

CONS:

  • The fixed magnification deprives you the ability to adjust according to the location of the deer.

Related: To mount this scope on your shotgun, you need the mounting rings to secure it firmly. Among others, we recommend the inexpensive Picatinny/Weaver Medium Profile 2-piece 1-inch Rings. They are made of the most durable aircraft-grade aluminum alloy anodized with the black matte finish.

Check the price on Amazon

Remington 870/870 Express Shotgun Scope Remington 870/870 Express Shotgun Scope

Price: Approx. $100 to $200

Weight: 1.7 pounds

Dimensions: 5.2 x 4.8 x 3 inches

Design Features: Picatinny style rail, fully multi-coated precision ground lenses, 6-inch eye relief, waterproof fog proof, lifetime warranty.

Best Use:  Hunting, Long range viewing

The Remington 870/870 Express Shotgun Scope is a scope that manages to be incredibly user-friendly while having some of the latest technology. It enhances viewing and guarantees clear and well-defined features. This device comes with specially designed sun optics and a no gunsmithing scope mount and 2.5 X 20 sun optics.

It also has a multi-coated scope that provides a 6″ eye relief. This mounting is done via the Picatinny Rail system that is perfectly contoured to fit your gun and thicker as well as more rigid recoil to aid in absorbing scope platform that channels recoil away from scope

Remington 870/870 Express Shotgun Scope places much emphasis on producing clean and clear images and uses a HIGH DEFINITION (HD) mechanism with blue lenses that allow the user to see a clear range of viewing over long distances and in poor lighting conditions.

It also ensures precision since it comes with a 1/4″ MOA “audible click” fingertip windage and elevation adjustments and a wide angle field of view. It is one of the leading riflescopes on the market because it guarantees high performance.

Additionally, the Remington 870/870 Express Shotgun Scope & Mount Combo has a 6-inch eye relief which puts it above the average scope that comes with the moderate 3- 3.5-inch eye relief.

It is important to note that riflescopes that come with a 3-3.5 inch eye relief put the user at an unfortunate disadvantage of being too close to the eyeball of the scope and can lead to the dreaded ‘Scope Eye’. It is further durable and the aircraft grade aluminum ensures a long lifespan. It is also fully water and fog resistant.

PROS:

  • An impressive 6-inch eye relief which puts your eyes further away from the scope. As a result, it becomes easy to use it even when you wear protective eyeglasses
  • The HD mechanism with blue senses optimizes clear range of viewing over long distances and in poor light conditions
  • Water and fog proof shotgun scope that can be used amid inclement climatic conditions
  • Durable aluminum construction
  • Audio-click fingertip elevation and windage adjustments

CONS:

  • The main drawback seems heavy compared to other scopes
  • Fixed magnification limits your magnification options

Related: The UTG Claw Mount for Remington 870 Shotgun may be an ideal product to mount the scope on a shotgun. It is made with high-quality materials that guarantee durability.

Check the price on Amazon

Truglo Compact Strut N Rut ScopeTruglo Compact Strut N Rut Scope

Price: Approx. $50

Weight: 1 pound

Dimensions:   5.2 x 4.8 x 3 inches

Specific Features: Waterproof/fog proof/nitrogen gas-filled, Fully-coated lenses provide maximum brightness, rubber eye-guard, fingertip windage and elevation adjustment, lifetime limited warranty.

Best Use: Hunting, long-range viewing

The Truglo Compact Strut N Rut Scope comes with Weaver-style rings and a diamond reticle that is particularly suited for shotgun searching. It is ideal for turkey and deer hunting and the user will be able to clearly view targets because it comes with lenses that are fully coated to enhance viewing while providing the right amount of contrast.

It also comes with a rubber eye–guard, fingertip windage and an elevation mechanism that will allow you to view and accurately target the object. Truglo Compact Strut N Rut Scope is crafted from a tube that is made from aircraft quality aluminum and is durable enough to withstand extreme conditions.

It is fog proof, water and scratch resistant and comes with lifetime restricted warranty. Using this scope in the harsh weather environments is not a bad deal with these features. Some scopes may force you to leave the hunting area due to imminent harsh weather occurrence.

PROS:

  • Fully multicoated optics to enhance the clarity of the images and to provide an excellent contrast
  • It has the fingertip windage and elevation adjustment to enable you to handle it regardless of the uneven surfaces or viewing positions
  • The scope is made durable with the aircraft-grade aluminum construction anodized with black matte finish
  • The objective lens diameter of 32mm is adequate to optimize light transmission

CONS:

  • The fixed magnification of 4x offers no flexibility of choosing ideal magnification to reveal different details of your deer
  • The features are not of high quality, hence the lowest price aimed at accommodating many avid deer hunters

Related: To install this scope on the shotgun using a set of screws, we recommend getting the Picatinny Rail Mount. The rail mount assures you durability with its lightweight construction with the aluminum. It is a versatile mount because it can secure a wide range of items.

Check the price on Amazon

BSA 30mm Red Dot ScopeBSA 30mm Red Dot Scope

Price: Approx. $30

Weight:  9.6 ounces

Dimensions: 5.2 x 4.8 x 3 inches

Design Features:  5 MOA red dot with 11 position rheostat, standard 3-volt lithium battery included, brightness control for low or bright light, one-year limited warranty

Best Use: Hunting, long range viewing, law enforcement

The BSA 30mm Red Dot Scope with 5 MOA is ideal for viewing and targeting short to mid-range objects. It is versatile enough to be used affixed to both small and large weapons and comes with a 5/8-3/8 mount that can accommodate rifles, pistols, shotguns and bows and even crossbows.

This red dot scope comes with a rheostat that comes with 11 different brightness setting that allows the user to illuminate the object and range of view according to the lighting conditions.  It also comes with great optics and it uses a standard 3-volt lithium battery that shows the battery life on a prominent display.

However, while the BSA 30mm Red Dot Scope does not have any magnification it is 30mm wide with a parallax setting of 50 yards which will enable the user to see clearly from as much as 100 yards.  It comes with user-friendly elevation and windage dials that can be easily adjusted.

This is a basic red dot scope that comes with the essentials and it comes at a reasonable price. So, if you are looking for something simple that will get the job done, then this is the red dot scope to consider.

PROS:

  • The most affordable scope under $30 that comes with a mount to actually save you unnecessary costs.
  • Fingertip windage and elevation adjustments
  • 30mm objective lens diameter to gather more light since it has no magnification
  • Features 11 different brightness setting to illuminate your targeted deer
  • The standard 3-volt lithium battery has been included

CONS:

  • It has no magnification. This is hard to view objects located further away.

Related: You can mate this scope with the Benjamin Trail NP Break Barrel Air Pistol, which is an ideal target shooting and pest controlling pistol. This proves the versatility of the scope that it can be used beyond deer hunting.

Check the price on Amazon

Nikon Slughunter BDC 200Nikon Slughunter BDC 200

Price: Approx. $150

Weight: 1.5 pounds

Dimensions: 3.2 x 4.7 x 15.8 inches

Design Features BDC 200 Reticle, 5-Inch of eye, fully multicoated optics, Spring-Loaded Instant Zero-Reset Turrets

Best Use: Deer Hunting, hunting, long-range viewing

The Nikon Slughunter BDC 200 is one of the most advanced devices that combines function with the latest technology. Remarkably, this can be affixed to quite a number of weapons.

However, this is the perfect match for riflemen who are intent on scoping out long distances. In fact, it comes with a 75-yard parallax that can view and accurately target objects as far as 200-yards away.

Nikon SLUGHUNTER BDC 200 comes equipped with a BDC 200 reticle that produces clear and crisp images with a unique, open circle design that makes long-range shots easier and the Nikon Spot Ballistic Match Technology allows the user to zero in on the target with precision.

It also has a 5-inch eye relief which puts it above the average riflescope because the average riflescope tends to come with a 3-3.5 eye relief that can hamper the user especially if they are using guns that are more powerful and may put the user at risk of getting scope eye.

Additionally, this device has ¼ MOA click-stop moves that will allow the user to make the necessary adjustments to their riflescope.  The multicoated optical comes with an anti-reflective glass that will prevent the user from being unnecessarily impeded by glare and this is good news for the hunter.

PROS:

  • It delivers clear and crisp images with the BDC 200 reticle feature that makes long distance a cinch
  • The 5-inch eye relief is over the standard 3.5-inch recommended limit. It provides a better relief for those using eye-glasses
  • Multi coated optics with anti-reflective glass that helps mostly in low light conditions
  • The matching technology allows you to zero in on the target with precision
  • Spring-Loaded Instant Zero-Reset Turrets

CONS:

  • Relatively costly over $100 compared to the lowest scopes under $30

Related: To mount this scope, the Warne 1 Inch Maxima TPA Scope Rings can be an ideal choice. It is made of the durable steel and finished with matte black color. It fits most of the scopes and secures them on the guns. Moreover, it is affordable so it won’t much financial strain in your pocket.

Check the price on Amazon

BSA Deer Hunter 2.5×20 ScopeBSA Deer Hunter 2.5×20 Scope

Price: Approx. $50 to $200

Weight:  8 ounces

Dimensions: 5.2 x 4.8 x 3 inches

Design Features: 2.5 times magnification, zero-reset turrets, multicoated lenses

Best Use: Deer Hunting, hunting long range viewing

The BSA Deer Hunter 2.5×20 Scope comes with great optics that will produce clean and clear images in just about any lighting conditions. This device is user-friendly and comes with a single focus eyepiece that enhances viewing and produces clear images.

It comes with a riflescope tube that is durable and will be able to withstand a great deal of damage. The BSA Deer Hunter Rifle Scope 2.5 X 20 also comes with easy to use adjustments that are controlled by spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets that will give the user the ability to control the operation of this device.

It comes with the potential to zero in on the object and the windage and elevation make it easy to use from any angle and the user will be able to hear the clicks. Additionally, this allows for a great deal of magnification and it can magnify objects up to 2.5 times its size.

It is important to note that the objective tube will allow a good view of the target. It also comes with a multicoated optics that makes it fog proof and shock resistant. The warranty can be customized and some mounts will have to be bought separately as this is highly dependent on the rifle types.

PROS:

  • Windage and elevation adjustment to enable you in angular viewing positions
  • Has multicoated optics for more crystal images
  • Fog and waterproof to withstand the harshest outdoor temperatures
  • 20mm objective lens

CONS:

  • It doesn’t perform exceptionally well in long distance shooting. Nonetheless, you can maneuver its magnification range in its limited field of view and spot the deer’s finer spots.

Related: It will become easier to use the High Profile Picatinny/Weaver Rings. These rings are made with the aircraft-grade aluminum alloy that assures the best quality and durability.

Check the price on Amazon

Final Thoughts

If you are going to purchase a shotgun scope, it is important that you take the purchase seriously and you do your research before you buy it. It is never a good idea to just purchase an item without first assessing the features in order to determine if it is the best buy, since failing to do so, could result in a purchase that you may later regret.

Therefore, ensure that it has some of the best features such as optics, illuminators, eye relief and the mechanisms that will give you accuracy and precision. Also, ensure that the shotgun scope is durable, reliable and can stand the test of time.

It should be water, shock, dust, and fog resistant and it should be lightweight enough to be easily carried or mounted. It should also have a good amount of eye relief and should have great optics that will give you the clearest and best images.

You should definitely consider purchasing those with HD quality since they will give you the best hunting experience. Therefore, it is imperative that you should follow the guidelines closely if you want the best experience.

Camouflage-butt-shotgun

In addition, the best shotgun scopes tend to come with great testimonials and reviews so pay attention to these and it would be great if you could get the honest opinions of friends or club members who have already purchased similar devices.

Hopefully, we have provided all the information needed to help you select the best deer shooting shotgun scope on the market. We understood how overwhelmingly challenging it could get so we’ve emphasized the basic concepts worthy to be grasped.

Our reviews have also included the related content as well as the pros and cons for each product. No matter how good a product can be, there will be at least one loophole that others may not appreciate. Use our information to pick the best. You may also rely solely on the table we introduced in the beginning.

Let us know in the comments below.  And don’t forget to share this piece out on social media; you never know when your friend might be looking for some shotgun.

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.

  • Nick Stucker

    The Truglo Scope is affordable, fogproof, waterproof, and highly durable. So, it is a resourceful and reliable sighting gear to buy.

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