Reviews of the Best Night Vision Rifle Scopes in 2018

Night vision rifle scopes prove to be very useful for multiple groups of people; hunters can attest to the importance of owning this type of scope when hunting animals like hogs and raccoons in the dark, and the military relies on this form of optic technology extensively in low light conditions. If you hunt or hold target practices at night, a night vision rifle scope is essential for locating your target and having optimal accuracy.

This guide covers everything you need to know in order to make an informed purchase of a night vision rifle scope. We’ll cover options in various price ranges and with varying technology, as well as go over what the different brands and generations of technology have to offer.

Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for the Money

Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42S Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope

As you may already know, Sightmark is a steadily growing brand in the field of rifle scopes. This particular model is for sale on Amazon with a stellar star rating of 4.6 stars, so it has proven to be a great scope for the money.

What are the details?

Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42sThe Sightmark Photon is most effective when placed at medium range; nonetheless, it features six digital retical options that allow you to operate on a variety of ranges, and the retical options are available in red, white, or green.

Due to the wide range of reticle options, this rifle scope has an impressive array of applications. The two crossbow reticles allow this scope to be used with crossbows designed to shoot 320, 350, 370 and 400 feet per second. In addition to having crossbow reticles, the two available duplex reticles are for rifle shooting, and they are great for hunting game such as hog or raccoon. The scope’s Mil-Dot optical aids in rangefinding and estimating holdovers. Finally, you can even opt to use German style reticles. Overall, there are several features and options to choose from when operating this rifle scope. It all depends on what your preferences are and the situation in which you are trying to make the shot.

Features beyond reticle options include a magnification of 4.6x, so paired with a large 42mm lens and an above average resolution of 640×480, you’re guaranteed to easily see anything in sharp detail for up to 120 yards! The Sightmark Photon’s digital interface also informs you of the wind direction, elevation height, and adjustments needed for making an accurate shot.

As for the battery life, this scope has a 33% longer life than the average in it’s domain. It’s also lighter than the average rifle scope of this ability, so both of these factors are worth considering when you’re using the scope for extended periods of time. Furthermore, if you’re out late at night, this scope sports a video output feature that allows the hunter or shooter to capture clear images during both the day and night.

The Sightmark Photon is a great device for the money; with a price below $500, this scope has everything that most shooters and hunters need to make those accurate shots. Click here to see the price.

Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for under $2,000

Armasight Drone Pro 10X Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope Resolution 752×582

Armasight is probably one of the most popular brands in the world of night vision scopes and thermal imagery. The Armasight Drone Pro 10x is designed for the professional hunter or shooter, and it comes equipped with an array of technological advances and features.

Although the Armasight Drone Pro 10x is a night vision scope, its sensitivity to both near-infrared and visible light, coupled with its bright-light attenuating CCD camera, makes this scope prime for use during the daytime. It is also water resistant and filled with dry nitrogen to prevent internal fogging, so negative weather conditions won’t have to be a deterrent when planning a hunting trip.

This scope is also equipped with a series of convenient digital features. Eight different brightness levels and seven reticle types are available to choose from, and adjustments can easily be made with the push of a button. Furthermore, its cutting-edge technology enables the user to operate the scope via a wireless remote control, which aids in conserving battery by providing a convenient way to activate the scope without having to leave it on the entire time you are using it.  

In addition to the features detailed above, this scope can be powered for 3 hours with two lithium batteries, has a power range of 5x to 10x with the use of a doubler, and a 752×582 resolution. Finally, the Armasight Drone Pro comes with a convenient two-year warranty. This rifle scope is worth every penny. Click here to see the price

Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for under $1,000

ATN X-Sight II 5-20 Smart Rifle Scope with 1080p Video, Night Mode, WiFi, GPS, Image Stabilization, iOS and Android Apps

ATN is known for manufacturing top of the line scopes, and their X-Sight II 5-20 night vision scope is no exception.

What are the details?

The ATN X-Sight comes with many technical conveniences such as Wi-Fi, GPS, smartphone control, and the ability to geotag your location on your photos and videos. The scope’s obsidian core allows for images to be recorded and captured clearly at night, and its HD 1080p sensor makes these images appear colorful and clear. 

One of this night vision scope’s most sought after features is its patent-pending smart rangefinder; this feature easily implements the necessary technology to estimate the distance you are from your target in a few simple steps. Once ranged, the scope will automatically adjust the point of impact, leaving out any guesswork or calculations on your end. 

Another admirable application offered by this scope is its capacity to offer seven different reticle options and seven color options needed for adjusting to any scenario or environment. Once these components have been set and you are gearing up for the perfect shot, there is another technologically savvy aspect of this scope that will give you peace of mind: the recoil activated video. You won’t have to worry about recording anything because this scope will automatically start to record a video before and after you take a shot. Overall, this scope is a great selection for its selection of features and price point! Click here to see the price

Best Night Vision Rifle Scope for under $500

Yukon NVRS Titanium 1.5×42 Night Vision Rifle Scope with Weaver Mount

The Yukon Titanium scope earned its nickname, the “Varmint Hunter”, due the fact that it is the smallest rifle scope in Yukon’s line of titanium scopes. It is highly durable and lightweight, and its lengthy mount is designed to provide an ergonomically sound experience for the shooter. This scope also fits a large range of rifles – even those that have a bolt action style!

This scope has a 50 mm lens that offers high resolution imagery and also helps to capture all possible light in a given environment, so this component of the scope works in concert with the built in Pulse Infrared Illuminator to enhance brightness and range in the middle of the night, making the Yukon NVRS Titanium an essential tool for many night time scenarios.

Other features include a flip-up objective lens cover, multi-coated optics, and is adaptable to digital cameras. This Yukon scope also has precise wind measurement and elevation adjustment controls. 

Finally, comes with a sturdy tote case and a lifetime warranty, so you can’t beat having all of these features for the low cost of this scope! Click here to see the price

Best Gen 1 Night Vision Scope

Firefield FF16001 NVRS 3x 42mm Gen 1 Night Vision Rifle Scope

Firefield FF16001 Gen 1 Night Vision RiflescopeFirefield may be newer to the rifle scope technologies, but they’ve definitely proven that they can deliver reliable and durable products.

Generation 1 scopes are usually the most purchased night vision rifle scope models due to being relatively inexpensive while still providing the shooter with advantageous technical assistance in terms of long range accuracy.

The NVRS 3×42 Night Vision Rifle Scope is a Generation 1, or Gen 1, scope that comes equipped with 3x magnification to help acquire medium and long-range targets, and these targets can be easily sought out during the early hours of the day or late at night thanks to the scope’s high power IR illuminator.

This scope’s titanium body is protective, sturdy, and very lightweight in comparison to many other rifle scopes, and its ergonomic design aids in delivering a more accurate shot. In addition to it’s rugged build, this scope has other measures that allow for the scope to be used in unpleasant weather conditions, if necessary. The NVRS 3×42’s flip up lens cover protects the multi-coated optics when needed, but when the lens cover is taken off, the illuminated red duplex reticle’s brightness can be incrementally adjusted for brightness in order to remain effective in any environmental condition.

This rifle scope has everything that you need to get the job done when shooting at night, and you don’t have to worry about your wallet suffering! Click here to see the price.

Best Gen 2 Night Vision Scope

Armasight Nemesis 6x-SD Gen 2+ Night Vision Rifle Scope with 6x Magnification

Armasight Nemesis6x-SD Gen 2+ RiflescopeNow that we will be discussing a Generation 2 rifle scope, you can expect to see more advanced technology and a greater variety of capabilities than observed with a Generation 1 scope.

What are the features and details of the Armasight Nemasis 6x-SD Gen 2 Night Vision Rifle Scope?

This scope has an impressive 6x magnification with 6.5 degrees FOV, which is very convenient for those long range points that are often too difficult to accurately hit without this form of advanced technology. Additionally, the well-defined and extremely thin crosshairs set this scope apart from any other night vision scope on the market by giving the user an ability to make extremely precise shots on very small targets, even from far distances.

Its high-quality image intensifier tube, unique adjustable brightness illuminated reticle, and detachable infrared illuminator are a combination of features that make this scope very useful in low-light and essentially no light settings.

This Armasight scopes’s controls are digital and the windage and elevation adjustments are very user-friendly. This is important when you’re needing to remain as steady as possible when gearing up to take a shot; you don’t want to have to hassle with a rifle scope that will cause too much noise or movement. And when you do end up shooting at your target, the scope should remain steadily on your weapon since it is shock protected.

Environmental factors such as rain will have you unconcerned since scope is waterproof; your Armasight Nemesis 6x will be just fine and it won’t hinder the operation at all. Another handy design feature includes the scope’s built-in flip-up and backup iron sights, which further help with aim and may be necessary if dealing with multiple distracting environmental conditions.

This Armasight Nemasis has a lengthy 60-hour battery life, which is much longer than the average Gen 1 models offer you as they aren’t designed to last as long as the Gen 2.

Finally, the Armasight Nemesis 6x has a two-year warranty. If it causes any issues, you can return it without it costing you a dime. It was an easy choice to include this model as the best Gen 2 night vision scope. Click here to see the price.

Best Gen 3 Night Vision Scope

Armasight NYX-14 GEN 3+ Alpha MG Multi-Purpose Night Vision Monocular with Manual Gain

The Armasight NYX-14 is a multi-purpose monocular scope that is both helmet and weapon mountable, and its quality is equal to that of military issued night vision technology.

This scope is comprised of small dimensions and has an extremely durable design. This device will not overload your rifle with heavy weight or strain your neck if you opt for “hands-free” use, and it is durable in weather conditions beyond the rain. According to Armasight’s product description, the NYX-14, “…can withstand salt water, rain, high humidity, extremes of temperature and still give unsurpassed levels of performance.”

While the NYX-14 was built with a standard 1x magnification, it comes with 3x, 5x, and 8x magnification lenses to use depending on the distance that you are trying to shoot a target from. It also produces an image resolution of 62-72 lp/mm.

One of the scope’s unique features is its manual gain control component (MG), which allows the shooter to manually increase or decrease the image brightness to account for the amount of natural light that is present in a given situation. It also comes with a built-in infrared illuminator for clear vision in pitch black settings.

Armasight’s NYX-14 scope is backed by a 2-year warranty, can be utilized in a variety of ways, and is a top quality night vision rifle scope.  This is, by far, is one of the best night vision options for Gen 3 models. Click here to see the price.

More Information – Top Night Scope Brands

There are many great brands out there that produce quality night vision scopes. Most likely, if you’re reading this article, you’re either a novice or you’re an expert who is seeking the “best of the best” scope for a bargain price. Below, we have detailed more information regarding the brands of the night vision scopes that we outlined at the beginning of the article. This information may help you to make a decision about which scope to purchase above, especially since they all come with a variety of enticing features and capabilities.

Armasight

Armasight is a big name in the thermal imaging and night vision technological field; they’ve designed and invented products like night vision scopes for years. Their main headquarters is located in San Francisco, California, and they offer spectacular quality for a wide range of prices. You can purchase a high standard night vision scope for $10,000.00, or purchase a scope for as low as $150.00. It merely depends on the features and technology that you desire and the amount of money that you’re willing to spend.

ATN

ATN is another brand that specializes in night vision and thermal imaging scope technology. “ATN” is an acronym for American Technologies Network, and like Armasight, it is also located in San Francisco. This company has been around for over two decades and takes great pride in having all of their products manufactured in the United States, producing scopes that are expensive and relatively inexpensive. Both ATN and Armasight are used frequently by hunters, law enforcement employees and the military.

Firefield

Firefield is a night scope brand that was established in 2009 and is rapidly building its reputation among the shooter community. Firefield saw the growing need for affordable scopes and thermal imaging products with the decline in the economy; they realized that there was an opportunity to serve people who couldn’t afford over-priced tactical products, so their philosophy is to provide optical equipment for shooters that are of high quality but low price. Never let the newness of a company deter you from giving their quality of products a try!

Sightmark

Emerging in 2007, Sightmark is also a new brand and company that’s increasing in popularity among the shooting community. According to their slogan, Sighmark’s technology equips users with the ability to “make the mark”. With their main headquarters in Mansfield, Texas, the brand and products have found their way into many outdoors retailers such as Academy Sports and Cabela’s and Gander Mountain. Sightmark offers high-quality riflescopes for affordable prices. It’s no wonder that Sightmark a rapidly growing brand.

Yukon

Yukon is another great rifle scope company. They’re committed to giving their consumers the latest and greatest in night vision rifle scope technology. Most people that have never shot a rifle in their life have heard of this brand and name, which speaks to the popularity of this brand. It’s a name to consider when shopping for the perfect night vision riflescope for you.

Night Vision Generations

If you’re new to the shooter community and learning about what rifle scope is best to purchase, it is not only important to compile information about all of the best brands to purchase from, but also to know the difference between Generation 1, Generation 2, and Generation 3 scopes. These terminologies are typically shortened to Gen 1, Gen 2, and Gen 3, so keep this in mind as you start searching and shopping for the best scope.

Gen 1

Gen 1 is fairly simplistic and affordable. For most shooters and hunters, it offers everything that you need and then some while also being the most inexpensive of all the generations. Gen 1 was introduced during the early sixties, a time at which the Space Age was developing new technologies that humanity never thought was possible. A Gen 1 night vision scope is sufficient for most shooters’ needs; however, since it is the first generation, it has fewer perks and may operate more slowly than the later generations.

Gen 1 scopes typically have the following capabilities and shortcomings:

  • The average useful sight range for Gen 1 is about 75 yards.
  • It has shorter battery lifespan than Gen 2 and Gen 3 scopes.
  • Overall life expectancy is 1500 hours of use.
  • Due to older technology, the user is generally illuminated thus making them obvious and visible.
  • Lower resolution imagery

Gen 2

Gen 2 is a step up from Gen 1. Although it is more expensive than the Gen 1, it’s still not as expensive as the Gen 3. However, in the form of technological advances, Gen 2 blows Gen 1 scopes out of the water.

Here are some of the details regarding a Gen 2 scope:

  • The average useful sight range is about 200 yards. (That’s 125 more yards than Gen 1’s 75 yards)
  • It has a longer battery life than Gen 1.
  • Overall life expectancy is 4500 hours.
  • Great resolution for images.
  • Doesn’t need the IR illumination

Gen 3

Gen 3 is the big, bad boy when it comes to night vision rifle scopes. It’s so advanced that the United States Military uses the Gen 3 on all of their rifle scopes and other optical equipment. However, keep in mind that most Gen 3 rifle scopes are very pricey. Don’t fret though; with its advanced technology and accuracy, you will get what you pay for!

Here are some details regarding a Gen 3 scope:

  • The average useful sight range is 300 yards. (Sometimes more depending on the model and grade that you have.)
  • Offers the best low light performance
  • Imagery technology allows it to work in all light shades and conditions.
  • The absolute best resolution for images.
  • Has the longest life expectancy with an amazing 10,000 hours and more of operation!

Conclusion

After reviewing the product options listed, as well as the additional information provided regarding different brands and scope generations, you have found the best night vision scope to suit your needs.

The Best Scopes for a 30-06 Rifle

The .30-06 cartridge was first introduced to the United States military in 1906 to replace the .30-03 rimless service round. It was developed to satisfy the necessity for lighter-weight, higher velocity, service rounds with pointed (spitzer) bullets, and was used for seven decades after that.

Today the .30-06 is one of the most popular hunting and sporting cartridges in the world – and for a good reason. As a target round, this one is handy, reasonably priced, and accurate. As a hunting cartridge, it is moderate enough in recoil to be used by even the most inexperienced hunters, and flexible enough to cover the vast spectrum of North American game species: from varmints to mid-sized and large game.

It is only logical that a caliber with as much versatility and performance as the .30-06 should be mated to an excellent scope. Failure to do so not only limits its functionality but also affects your user experience. It does not take an expert to know that you cannot randomly pair a rifle with any scope and achieve the best results. Yes, you might hit your target; but with as much effort as it takes to eat soup using a fork.

So, esteemed shooters, that brings us to the trillion dollar question: Which are the best scopes for the .30-06? Reading this article shows that you have found out, in one way or the other, how difficult it is to find the right scope for this traditional, yet grand scope. You see, a caliber this popular ordinarily has a surfeit of scopes out on the market that is compatible with it, if not made directly for it.

What to Look For

But you should not give up just yet. Because, though there is not one scope that we can name as the overall winner, there is certainly one that will be a perfect fit for you. Just as each hunter’s needs differ from those of the next, so are each scope’s characteristics. Manufacturers have tried, and still, are trying, but they have not yet found a way to build a single scope that will cover everything. Therefore we will evaluate the ones that come close enough and leave it to you to choose the one that suits you best. But before we do that, it is imperative that you first understand how your new sight will work. So – with much apologies to the pros – I will give you a crash course on the front-to-back basics of the scope, and the standard terminology used before I start hitting you with big words.

Here are the scope basics from front-to-back:

  • The objective lens is the front glass, and its size is directly proportional to both the field of view and amount of light transmitted.
  • The scope body also known as the tube is usually one inch or 30mm in length. You should ensure that the rings that hold the tube in place are of the same size as the tube.
  • Adjustment knobs change the windage and elevation of the scope – although some larger magnifications feature parallax adjustment as well. Standard is one click changes impact ¼” at 100 yards. They can be adjusted using finger pressure, a flat-tip screwdriver, or turrets.
  • The eyepiece, the focus knob, and the magnification adjustment make up the rear.
  • The reticle is the series of fine lines in the eyepiece used as a measuring scale. Some are battery-powered.

It will also not hurt to know a few of the terms used:

  • Single or fixed power means that the scope’s power cannot be adjusted while variable power means the opposite.
  • Objective size is the size of the objective lens. The larger it is, the bulkier the scope usually is.
  • Lens coatings repel water and block some wavelengths. They determine how much reflection you might experience.
  • A charged scope is one that has been filled with nitrogen or oxygen to keep out fog r moisture.

Top Scopes for the .30-06 Caliber

You might have heard of the old thumb rule which states that you should only buy a scope that costs more than half as much as your rifle. I beg to differ with that line of thinking. Most experts out there and I believe that price should only be a factor if you are on a budget. That is because there are cheaper brands that work as well as pricier ones, just as there are expensive ones that ride on brand name but offer very little functionality.

Here is our list of the best scopes for your rifle in no particular order.

1) Vortex Optics DBK-10019 Diamondback HP 4-16×42

Though one of the newest companies in the scope and optics industry, Vortex has not only proven to be worth their salt but are giving the bigger names a run for their money. The Vortex Diamondback (HP) 4-16x42mm is no exception. For starters, it is equipped with an array of high-quality features that you will not find in some of the pricier comparisons.

The 42mm lens is made of XD extra-low dispersion glass to increase resolution to the already large field of view. Its XR multi-coated lens maximizes light transmission and reduces reflection to give you a squint less and glare less hunting experience. The 4-16x magnification allows you to push your rifle to its limit at ranges above 1000 yards.

As is the case with most rising stars, Vortex strives to produce the highest quality products in a bid to establish itself and cement its position in the industry. The Diamondback is rugged, to say the least, and the HP in its name is an acronym for “High Performance,” and it shows for it. Click here to see it.

2) Leupold VX-2 3-9x40mm with Duplex Reticle

From the state of Oregon comes the Leupold VX-2, an all American scope for a genuinely American caliber. Leupold’s seven-decade experience in scope-building is reflected in the VX-2’s ruggedness and excellent material quality. And as if to flaunt its superiority, Leupold provides a lifetime warranty for an almost indestructible product.

Leupold goes green with the Index Matched Lens system with lead-free glass and edge blackened lenses. The result is an environment-friendly scope with best-in-class clarity. Waterproof and argon-filled to prevent fogging, it enables you to enjoy your rifle in any weather. What’s more, zeroing has been made much quicker and more precise with the finger adjustable 1/4 MOA click windage and elevation adjustments.

The ergonomic eye piece now features a fast focus that eliminates the need to adjust a lock ring every time you want to change focus. The Leupold VX-2 is a functional and reliable scope that will not disappoint. Click here to see it.

3) Nikon ProStaff 4-12×40 Black Matte (BDC)

Nikon ProStaff 4-12×40’s two-hundred-dollar-ish price tag is a surprise to many seeing how fully loaded it is. A perfect blend of ruggedness and aesthetics, this sight, will satisfy even the most demanding hunters and shooters. The finger adjustable turrets of the Prostaff 4-12×40 can be quickly reset to zero allowing for quick adjustments in the field.

Hunting in the most undesirable conditions is made possible by the nitrogen-purged, O-ring sealed tube and the sun shade adjustable lens. Brilliant sight picture and versatile magnification range come in handy in any hunting situation, from heavy timber to the open prairies.

Multicoated lenses increase light transmission up to 98%, and precise hand-turn 1/4-MOA click adjustments get you zoned in quicker. Nikon’s patented BDC reticle gives you an advantage at long distances but still provides normal sight picture for shorter-range shots while the crosshair itself is the aiming point.

Although recoil is not much of an issue with the .30-06, the Prostaff 4-12×40 still offers generous and consistent eye relief. Nikon Prostaff Rifle Scopes include a lifetime factory warranty. Click here to see it.

4) Nikon Buckmaster 3-9×40 BDC

The Nikon Buckmaster 3-9×40 is what you get when Nikon, a premium lens maker, and Buckmaster, a top-class scope builder, team up. Buckmaster riflescopes constitute Nikon’s medium priced line, and the 3-9x40mm model is the most popular of them all. Nikon itself describes this scope as a: “Classic variable, excellent for game hunting from deer to varmints.”

The Buckmaster is Nitrogen-filled, and O-ring sealed for waterproofing and fog proofing purposes. The Nicoplex reticle, a better copy of the famous Leupold Duplex, is standard on the 3-9x40mm.

The multi-coated 40mm objective lens allows nearly one hundred percent light transmission, making this the right scope for dawn or dusk hunting. 3.6″ of eye relief is enough to protect you while still offering plenty of field of view throughout the magnification range. With a lifetime warranty sweetening the deal, this scope competes with others that double the price. Click here to see it.

5) Leupold VX-I 3-9x50mm

Here comes another Leupold, and it is almost identical to its VX-2 sibling save for its slightly lower lens quality and optical clarity. The 3-9x50mm is considered the best of the VX-I models because it offers you more magnification range and larger objective lenses than the others.

Shooting at distances of about 400 to 500 yards is a bargain for its price and an objective lens of 50mm makes this possible even in dim conditions. The VX-I 3-9x50mm guarantees professional performance on an amateur’s budget and will revolutionize your next hunt.

Expectedly, VX-I 3-9x50mm shares the same ruggedness and reliability with its siblings. Likewise, it is offered with a lifetime warranty. Click here to see it.

6) Nikon ProStaff 3-9×40

You may wonder why I have decided to include the Nikon ProStaff 3-9×40 while its overall specs are almost similar to those of both the Buckmaster and the ProStaff 4-12×40. I was also reluctant until I realized two important things: the ProStaff 3-9×40 is one of the best-reviewed riflescopes on the market, and it strikes a balance between the other two. It has earned notoriety for its capabilities in deer hunting, especially in thick cover. It is also very useful at short ranges and is the scope of choice for stealth hunters.

Multi-coated, multi-colored, and layered with anti-reflective compound, the optical system is made for high performance and efficiency. Similar to the ProStaff 4-12×40, its patented BDC enables you to adjust the bullet drop to up to 600 yards and allows you to stay and hold ‘dead-on’ at various ranges. The crosshair plays as the aiming point for close range shooting and the parallax setting increases the scope’s precision.

It is suitably fog proof, shock proof, and waterproof, given that it is Nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed. Its simplicity makes it perfect for beginners, and its light weight is ideal for situations that call for speed.

This is the right alternative if you are after a scope that will fulfill your hunting and shooting needs with as little complication as possible. Click here to see it.

7) Simmons 8-Point Truplex Reticle, 3-9x50mm

Not many experts would have expected the Simmons 8 Point Truplex to make it to this list, but I dared to include it. Now this is for those of you that are not afraid to explore the roads less traveled – and well, to save a few bucks in the process. As easy on the wallet as it is on the eye, the 8-Point riflescope offers more high-quality features than any other in its class.

Fully coated optics ensure a brighter, higher contrast image while the 1/4-MOA SureGrip audible click windage and elevation adjustments allow for fast and effortless changes. The 50mm objective lens is more than generous for its price range, but hey, no one is complaining. 3-9 power magnification at its best, this waterproof, fog proof, and recoil proof scope will offer you more than you bargained for – literally. Click here to see it.

Celestron SkyMaster 15x70mm Binoculars Review

While Celestron is more known for their telescopes, they sell all sorts of optical equipment including microscopes and binoculars. You don’t normally see Celestron binoculars in the field while you’re hunting and birding. That’s because Celestron manufactures some big binoculars. These 70mm binoculars are apart of the SkyMaster line of optics and isn’t even the largest set of handheld binoculars on the market.

Celestron as a company specializes in viewing objects very far away and objects too small for our naked eyes to see. The SkyMasters feature enormous 70mm lens, capable of getting clear images of the moon in the right settings and conditions.

Here we’ll explore the Skymaster 70mm’s, and where you can use them best.

Optics

Let’s take a look at the overall power of these 70mm optics.

  • 15x magnification
  • Field of View (FOV)-4.4 degrees
    • FOV at 1000yds-230
  • Multi-coated lenses
  • Diopter range- -4 to 8
  • Close Focus Distance 52.5

70mm lens are some of the biggest lenses you can have on handheld binoculars. As a result, you have some of the greatest light gathering power on the market. The diopter settings range from -4 to +8, meaning you can adjust to low or high light situations.

Uses

Since these binoculars are made by Celestron, you can already guess what they’re good at. The moon is one of the brightest objects in our night sky and with the 70mm’s variable diopter settings, you’ll have no difficulty seeing it up close when the sky is clear.

These diopter settings work the same during daytime and landscape viewing as well. They come with a tripod adapter as they do weigh about 3lbs free handed. Birding and nighttime sky watching are going to be the biggest and most logical uses for the 70mm’s. 70mm means that you’re going to soak up whatever is giving off light, notably objects in the sky and the moon.

Versus Other Sporting Optics

These binoculars are big, hence why more often than naught, you’ll see them hooked up to a tripod. They don’t make the best hunting binoculars because they are designed for extreme range viewing rather than detailed viewing. Remember, just because a pair of optics has big lenses, doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the best details of an object.

Swinging these binoculars isn’t going to be easy due to their size and weight. Compared to wide angled binos and other smaller sporting optics, the 70mm’s aren’t the most logical to take on hunts when you’re lugging them around for hours at a time. Unless you plan to stay in given area, you’re better off using a smaller pair.

Overall

It’s astonishing to note that the 15x70mm’s aren’t the biggest or smallest pair of binos in the SkyMaster series. Regardless, the 15x70mm’s sit in the middle of the SkyMaster series and provide astounding images for a cheap price compared to other Celestron products.

The 15x70mm’s don’t have the power to see stars or planets beyond the moon up close and personal but provide a sort of middle ground between mainstream sporting optics and telescopes.

Click here to shop the SkyMaster 70mm’s.

 

Best Reflex Sights of 2018

Reflex sights are a type of gun sights that can go on a variety of firearms, depending on the mounting system available. Reflex, red dot, and holographic sights are commonly associated with each other because of their similar construction and electronic reticles. They are also common on many of the firing systems on vehicles, aircraft, and ships.

While they may look the similar or the same on the outside, each of these sights uses a different method of optical imagery. The goal of a reflex sight is to provide the user with the best reticle while eliminating or lessening a lot of the optical problems that come with other sights like parallax, zeroing, or MOA.

How Does it Work?

You’ll see a lot of similarities aesthetically between all three sights. All three commonly use a red dot as a reticle. A reflex sight projects an image (reticle) onto a lens that reflects towards your eye. There are a few different ways a reflex sight can project an image that eventually you see, but in the end, the words “reflex” and “reflection” are the most basic terms.

The most common way reflex sights solve sighting problems is by using collimating lenses and light. Collimating light is light that is parallel to whatever surface it is facing. When light goes through a collimating lens, it straightens and then bounces off another lens into your eye. As a result, the dot or reticle that you see is virtually parallel to the gun barrel. Right off the bat, parallax is eliminated.

Reflex sights offer near unlimited eye relief, so you can mount it on different positions on your firearm and still have excellent target acquisition.

Why Buy A Reflex Sight?

Red dot sights are very popular for their on target pointing with the dot itself. Reflex sights build on top of the illuminating nature of pure red dot sights in order to factor out sighting and zeroing problems. You will have to zero in the reflex sight, this is standard for just about every scope you fit on a firearm.

Reflex sights typically give the user more chance of on target hit at longer range (excluding gun recoil). Whichever way your head moves, the reticle will remain in the center of the panel.

Let’s say for example you’re looking at a target down range. Because the reticle stays in place at the center of the sight, you can acquire targets faster without having to swing the gun about. If you look around or avert your eyes from the center of the sight, it will still point straight ahead. A reflex sight isn’t a massive, groundbreaking upgrade from a normal red dot sight, but it does provide the user with a simpler method of

Best Under $100

Dagger Defense Reflex Sight

The Dagger Defense sight is a fully encased sight with four different types of reticles in red or green fashion.  It comes with four different locking screws so you can adjust and zero in the sight. Most users have mounted this sight on a semi-automatic rifle and have been able to zero it in between 100-350 rounds.

It also features a dial on the right-hand side for choosing the reticle and power level.

  • Aperture: 33mm
  • Length: 82mm
  • Weight:  10 oz
  • Field of view at 100m: 15.8m
  • Rail: Picatinny

 

Browning Buckmark Reflex Sight

Browning, a popular sporting company, has crafted the equally popular Buckmark sight. This sight is designed specifically for Buckmark pistols, which fire .22 ammunition but also works on other rimfire weapons. It comes with four different reticles for your convenience and a dial for brightness.

You should only consider this sight if you are looking into .22 caliber rimfire guns or a Buckmark pistol specifically.

  • Length: 3.25in
  • Height: 2in
  • Width: 1.25in
  • Field-of-view at 100m: 15.7m
  • Weight: 6.6 oz
  • Rail: Weaver base

 

Sightmark Sure Shot Reflex Sight

The Sure Shot sight is a lot like the Buckmark sight in design but isn’t limited to .22 weapons. It comes with a built-in Weaver mount, which saves you the hassle of figuring out what railing its compatible with.

This sight comes in either black or camo pattern, with the latter being a little more expensive than the former.

  • Aperature: 33mm
  • Field of view at 100m: 35m
  • Length: 3.23in
  • Width: 2.52in
  • Height: 2.20in
  • Weight: 4.76oz

 

Ozark Armament Reflex Sight

The Ozark Armament reflex sight features a wide angle casing to give you a wider field of view. Some reflex sights put too much aluminum casing around the holographic panel, obstructing the view of the target. It comes with a built-in picatinny mount.

It has four different reticles and five different brightness levels so you can find the position that works best for you.

 

 

The reflex sight by Survival land is the cheapest sight on our list, coming in at just under $15. Normally the first impression would be horrible reviews and overall dissatisfaction, but this sight maintains a small fanbase. It has a similar construction to most wide-angle sights and mounts on a picatinny rail.

It comes with four different reticles and two different colors or said reticles.

 

The Ultra Shot M-Spec is a big step up from the Sure Shot. This sight is encased in cast magnesium alloy, a very strong and sturdy metal that is unlikely to suffer any damaging dings or scratches. This casing also better protects the interior panel.

The M-Spec is Sightmark’s most rugged and durable sight, built to handle the elements and water submersion up to 40ft. It’s brightness settings also come with a night vision mode, enabling you to find a comfortable setting without the reticle being overly bright.

  • Field of View at 100m: 35m
  • Dimensions: 103x58x61 mm
  • Window Dimension: 33x24mm
  • Weight: 8 oz.

 

 

Best Under $300

Holosun Open Reflex Sight 

In a similar fashion to the M-Spec, the Holosun reflex sight sports a titantium casing with an aluminum finish, making it one of the strongest and most durable sights on our list. Those features are always nice, but what’s even better is its wide 32mm×24mm open lens.

Even with a solid casing, a wide lens expands the field of view so you can a clear shot at your target without having to squint through the metal.There is no automatic shutoff on this sight, so you have to make sure you turn it off manually.

Best Under $400

The Sig Saur Romeo 3 is an advanced, miniature sight that has a couple of neat features. The first is its MOTAC illumination system. When it senses movement, it will turn on and when it doesn’t, it will shut off. Basically, it’s the sight’s automatic shutoff system (no power on/off button needed). The battery compartment is located in the side of the sight, so you don’t have to completely remove the sight from the gun in order to change the battery.
As a high-quality optic, it’s designed for modern-day rifles, shotguns carbines, SMGs, and handguns. It comes with a built-in picatinny mount.

Leupold Delta Point Pro Reflex Dot Sight 

The Delta Point Pro is also equipped with motion sensing technology, saving you the hassle of remembering to turn on and off the sight. While it may be small, its incredibly rugged and waterproof up to 33 feet.
This sight works on everything from ARs to handguns. With its unlimited eye relief, you can mount it anywhere and still see perfectly down the sight.

 

 

What to Consider When Buying A Reflex Sight

Housing

A lot of reflex and red dot sights refer to one another as each other, and it can get sort of confusing. A reflex sight is inherently different from a pure red dot sight, but use many similar housings. Housing refers to the type of construction around the glass panels. Tube, open, or fully encased.

Different sights with different housings will allow for more or less field of view, so choose according to how much you want to see through the sight.

Battery

All sights run on either CR2, AA, or AAA batteries. The amount of life you get out of these batteries depends on the illumination setting you have for the sight. Some sights will give you thousands of hours worth of life on the lowest intensity setting.

Some sights have their batteries in the rear or underside of the sight, which could affect the overall housing. Be sure that you are combing the right housing with battery location.

Reticle

Using different reticles is going to result in a different user experience. Most of these sights come with different selections of reticles that might be better suited for your range and weapon handling.

Just because a reticle looks cool in the sight doesn’t mean it will give you the best target acquisition.

Price

There are certainly some very popular but expensive sights on this list. You shouldn’t feel pressured to purchase the biggest one just because the price indicates quality. Some might come with a couple of small perks.

The higher priced sights are usually more rugged and designed for extreme conditions, so take this into account when considering the higher end sights.

Mounting

Some of these sights will come with built-in picatinny or weaver mounts. Usually, these sights will say which one they come or what type of railing they are compatible with. Nevertheless, you should double-check your weapon and the mount to see if they are compatible with the sight you are considering.

What are the Real Differences?

Between the big three reticle sights (red dot, reflex, and holographic), reflexes are sort of the midpoint between user experience and accuracy. You’ll see a lot more of red dot sights for close range shooting, but reflexes and holographic sights give you the edge in accuracy and focusing abilities.

That’s not to say that red dot sights are wholly unreliable, but reflexes will be more versatile across different firearms, especially with each of them having near unlimited eye relief.

Click here to see our picks for the top red dot sights of 2018.

Click here to see our picks for the top holographic sights of 2018.

 

Bushnell PowerView 20x50mm Binoculars Review

The Bushnell PowerView series is a wide range of wildlife and tactical binoculars that feature high powered optics across the board. Bushnell offers a lot of choices when it comes to binoculars, so why the 20x50mm model?

The PowerView 20x50mm offers a good blend of magnification and light gathering power. The Powerview is another version of the popular wide-angle binos, which are different than your average sporting optics model.

Optics

  • Close focus: 45ft/13.7m
  • Field of View at 1000yds: 170ft
  • Exit Pupil-9mm

The PowerView’s optics aren’t spectacular, but they do have something called Insta Focus, patented by Bushnell. While not exactly working the same way as a camera focus, it keeps objects in focus with a push of a button. It’s extremely useful when viewing things at maximum range.

The field of view (FOV) at 1000 yards is smaller than most top of the line sporting optics. Most of them have FOV’s between 200-400 yards at 1000 yards, but the PowerView does get close. The better the quality, usually higher the price.

While PowerView’s usefulness at maximum range drops off, detail and coloration from 0-1000 yards is still astounding.

Uses

The 20x50mm are perfect for just about every outdoor viewing activity from hunting to concerts and theater. Light transmission within the lenses is also optimal, so you should have no problem seeing objects at long range while indoors.

Extreme range viewing might not be the PowerView’s strong point, but at closer range, it really picks up on detail. Many users have complimented the PowerView’s versatility as an animal watching optic as well hunting.

Compared to Other Sporting Optics

You’ll find that the 20x50mm compares well with other binoculars that are marketed specifically as “sporting optics”. One of the biggest perks about the PowerViews is that they are remarkably cheap compared to other sporting optics.

They feature a tough rubber skin to absorb and protect against dings and scratches. They may sport the biggest lenses in the PowerView line but the overall construction is still relatively compact. They won’t be cumbersome to carry on extended trips.

Overall

The PowerViews are at a slightly wider angle than mainstream hunting binoculars. They combine some of the perks of sporting optics with more compact binos to deliver a good all-around performance.

While there is no limit to where you can use them, you’ll have the best chance of using them for closer range activities regardless if it is indoor or outdoor.

Click here to shop the PowerView 20x50mm model.

The Best Red Dot Sights for 2018

Anyone who uses a gun for target practice or hunting will agree that having a sight is essential for being able to accurately hit a target. Traditional iron sights can be used to achieve this desired accuracy; however, red dot sights provide a faster way to aim and shoot without missing. While these sights were typically used by the military, they are now often employed for recreational means, including hunting and paintball. Red dot sights are popular to use for aiming at moving targets, especially since this type of sight allows you to line up the target and take a shot at a quick rate of speed. Let’s take a look at some of the best red dot sights on the market, and then we will cover key features to look for and evaluate when purchasing a red dot sight.

What is a Red Dot Sight?

If you are unsure of what a red dot sight is or how it differs from other types of sights, here are some additional details to go over before exploring the following options: Any non-magnified, illuminated sight that can be equipped to a shotgun, a rifle, or a handgun is considered a red dot sight. The reticle or “red dot” is created by an LED or a laser diode light that is reflected or projected into the field of view. This “red dot” is aimed directly in your line of sight to become the aiming mechanism that lines up the gun with the targets to make the perfect shot.

The Best Red Dot Sights on the Market

1. Vortex SPARC 2 Red Dot Sight (Our top pick)

The Vortex SPARC 2 is a well built, extremely sturdy sight that provides great features at a really reasonable price. An upgrade to Vortex’s original SPARC, the light weight sight is built to impress, and many reviewers have not had problems with it standing up to the tests of time at all. The battery life of this sight at minimum brightness can last up to an incredible 5,000 hours. A six hour auto shut down feature is also present to help preserve battery life. A simple button press makes it easy to adapt the color, shape, and illumination of the reticle. This sight also features a fully multi-coated lens as well as waterproof optics to keep moisture, dust, and debris away from the lens. It is also parallax free, which allows for more rapid shooting while you have both eyes open. Click here to see the current price.

2. Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic

The Aimpoint PRO is a great sight that has new, never-before-seen features incorporated into its’ design that maximizes the performance and battery life of the device. The sight can be turned on and left on for at least three years before a new battery will be required. The service date and battery change reminders are perfect for tracking and making sure that you never let your batteries die while you are out on a hunt. The front lens of this sight also features a band-pass coating, which enables compatibility with most types of night vision devices. Both the front and the rear lens are set back from the edge to cushion the sight from impact devastation and safeguard it from scratches and fingerprints. The Aimpoint PRO also has a mount with a removable spacer as well as a torque limiting twist knob that optimizes the pressure places on the rail. Click here to see the current price.

3. Sightmark Ultra Shot Pro Spec Sight NV QD 

The Sightmark Ultra Shot Pro Spec Sight NV QD is ideal for someone looking to purchase a high quality, cost-effective sight. The double pane lens helps to eliminate parallax, which is a very helpful and common feature among red dot scopes, and the sight has four different reticle patterns to allow for maximal customization. You will also have the unique ability to mount the sight in front of a night vision monocular to create a co-witnessed sight setup. Furthermore, if you are in pursuit of a fast target, this sight is equipped with a quick detachable rail mounting system and an internal interlocking system that holds zero extremely well; therefore, you won’t have to worry about frequently readjusting this sight in the field. Finally, you can be sure that this scope will hold up in multiple types of environments and situations due to its durable aluminum frame and metal shield. Click to see the current price.

4. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Rifle Sight

The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 is a great, durable, lightweight sight that does not lack in quality. The multi-coated lens has an amber bright, high contrast coating that is designed to help you quickly distinguish where your target is in any lighting. The parallax free design adjusts to your eyes, which allow rapid shooting with both eyes open. The sight has the ability to adjust the size and the illumination of the reticle to three different levels and preserve the battery life. An additional feature that is useful for shooting excursions in the great outdoors is the waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof construction. Click here to check the current price.

5. Burris FastFire III with Picatinny Mount

The Burris FastFire III is a very versatile sight that was built to stand up to rugged outdoor life for long periods of time. Wind age and elevation adjustment upgrades are available with this sight. This Picatinny mounted sight has a 3 MOA dot reticle that can be adjusted to three brightness settings, and it also sports an automatic brightness setting that adjusts to the current lighting conditions. Battery access is conveniently located on the top so the sight so that it does not need to be removed when the battery needs replacing, and the low battery indicator will help you best prepare to have a fully powered sight for your next adventure. This Burris FastFire III also comes with waterproof and shockproof features.

Choosing the right sight is imperative for any hunter or marksman. Whether you are shooting for the fun of the sport or for the competition of it, it is best to find a sight that you are comfortable using. The key is to be able to make an accurate shot without spending a long time lining up the shot, especially if you are aiming at a moving target. Red dot sights are a great option for accomplishing that, but make sure you are aware of the important features to consider when purchasing one. Remember, expense does not always equal quality. The five sights listed are all excellent choices, but continue reading the content below before deciding which red dot sight is best for you. Click here to see the current price.

Benefits of a Red Dot Sight

• Faster Targeting Capabilities

Once a target is acquired, it is easy to quickly center the reticle on the target and fire the gun. There is no need to align the sights and take time to aim. This type of sight gives a much greater accuracy rate when taking aim at a moving target.

• Greater Field of View

Red dot sights have a wider field of view than most tube style sights. Having a wider field of view allows for a shot from a greater distance, but the sight is still not magnified so being reasonably close is still recommended.

• Unrestricted Eye Relief

For most sights, it matters how far away the shooter’s eye is from the sight, but with a red sight, the eye relief is unlimited. This feature allows for faster targeting, because it takes away part of the restraint placed upon someone who is aiming with another type of sight.

• Works Well with Low Light

Red dot sights are easy to aim in the dark of night. The cross hairs of most sights become invisible in the dark, but the red dot is even visible in the darkest environments.

Features to Consider when Purchasing a Red Dot Sight

• Housing Configuration

A red dot sight can come in either a tube style or an open style. The tube style is closer to a traditional sight in appearance. This type of housing allows the shooter to apply filters and protective covers to the lens, which could make the “red dot” easier to see in bright sunlight. Open sights do not have the classic tube style. These types of sights consist of only the bare basics, and objective window to see through and a source of illumination. Since an open housing configuration has less room for flair, filters cannot be used to enhance the viewing experience.

• Type of Projection

Red dot sights include both holographic and reflex sights. With a holographic projection, the sight is illuminated from the front of the lens and a laser diode light is projected onto the viewing window to create a holographic red dot to assist with aiming at a target. Reflex sight projections are much more common in red dot sights that are used for recreation. A reflex sight reflects an LED light that is positioned behind the lens into your line of sight.

• Style of the Reticle

The reticle is effectively the “red dot” that is used to bring the gun in line with the target. All Reticles are designed to be illuminated to make it easier to shoot in low lighting conditions, but they are not required to be red or to be a simple dot. The color and patterns of red dot sights vary, so it is best to find one that allows comfortable shooting. Styles range from a single dot, to cross hairs, or even bullseye patterns that can be displayed in a red or green color. A good sight will be able to utilize multiple patterns and adjust to the desired color. The size of the reticle can also often be adjusted. A bigger dot typically means that targeting is faster. Make sure to avoid fancy styles; it is important to naturally align your eye to the center of the reticle for faster target finding.

• Battery Life of the Sight

The battery life of any red dot sight is extremely important. You need to know that the reticle will be there when it is needed, and a sight that has a short battery life presents the chance of the light going out when you are getting ready to aim for a target. Without the reticle, targeting becomes more complicated and accuracy can suffer. Reflex sights that use LED’s to create the “red dot” consume much less energy than holographic options. A good sight should be able to get roughly a thousand hours of usage before the battery life diminishes. Make sure to preserve battery life whenever possible by turning the sight off when it is not being used. Shooing in cold weather can also be a factor of how long the battery life will last, so make sure to always carry a backup just in case.

Tips for Choosing a Red Dot Sight

• Higher Price does not mean Better Quality

Spending a lot on a sight is not always going to guarantee that the quality is better than the cheaper models. Sometimes advertising will suck you into a more expensive red dot sight that is missing key features, like being able to change the shape or color of the reticle to something that allows your eyes to focus at a faster rate.

• Compatible with Gun

Not all sights are able to be mounted to just any gun. Sights are designed to go with certain types of guns, and they will only fit properly on those styles. Make sure the sight that you are looking to purchase is compatible with the gun you own or are looking to own.

• A Comfortable Size and Weight

Make sure the sight is an appropriate size for your gun and the area where it will be stored. The weight of the red dot sight will affect the overall weight of the gun. Make sure that the gun can still be handled effectively with the sight attached to make assure that the accuracy of your aim is not diminished.

• Mounting the Sight

Mounting the sight to the gun is an extremely important step. If the sight is slightly off, then your whole aim will be off as well. Take your time when mounting and adjusting the sight to assure that it is straight. Your precision when mounting the sight will help you nail the target every time.

Overall, there are multiple features to take into consideration when making your red dot sight purchase. A sight equipped with all of the right features fit for you will take your recreational hunting or target shooting to the next level.

AT3 Tactical RD-50 Red Dot Sight

The RD-50 red dot sight by AT3 tactical that’s optimized for the AR system. While it’s optimized for this rifle, it’s not uncommon to see it on shotguns, handguns, hunting rifles, or any other weapon with a Picatinny or Weaver rail system. It will come in three different sizes depending on the type of mount you want (none, mid, and high).

Optics

  • Power / Obj. Lens: 1x25mm
  • Reticle: 2 MOA Red Dot
  • Lens Coating: Multi-coated
  • Weight: 3.6 oz
  • Mounting Length: 1.1 inch / 28 mm
  • Total Length: 2.4 in / 61.8 mm
  • Exit Pupil: 22mm
  • Windage/Elevation Click Value: 1 MOA per click

Features

There are 11 settings featured on the dial that indicates the power setting of the red dot. The sight’s overall construction allows for both of the user’s eyes to remain open while in use. The sight is completely enclosed in tough aluminum material like a tactical scope

One neat aspect of this sight is its battery life, able to support close to 50,000 hours of use (on the lowest setting besides “off”) before the CR2 battery is drained. Turning the dial to zero will shut off the sight completely.

  • The sight is constructed to eliminate parallax, meaning that whichever way your eyes move, the red dot will remain in the center.

Compared to other Sights

The RD-50 is definitely on the cheaper side of the red dot sights. There are sights by Vortex and Aimpoint that can range in the hundreds of dollars while the high mount version of the RD-50 still sits below a hundred dollars.

This sight’s dot is overall larger than ones we’ve seen. While most sights give the handler the ability to adjust the brightness, the size of the dot is also imperative. A dot that is too big or too small basically eliminates the effectiveness of the sight.

The lens cap is also detachable, which seems minuscule in importance, but some sight’s lens covers flap around when you’re moving around or have the gun in a different position other than straight ahead.

Overall

Don’t let the cheapness of the product distort the RD-50’s usefulness as a sight. We like that the RD-50’s stacks up nicely against the most expensive of red dot sights and has no visible or clear drawbacks.

The one thing to keep note of is the brightness levels. This is the sight’s on and off switch, as there is no automatic shutoff as with more top of the line products. However, even on the lowest setting, you’re able to get thousands of hours worth of life before even changing the battery.

Click here to shop the RD-50 Red Dot Sight.

The Best Spotting Scopes for 2018

If you’re a hunter, bird watcher, target shooter, or engaged in any activity where enhanced vision is an asset, a spotting scope is a fantastic investment. Spotting scopes are designed to be used with a tripod, and are less portable than a pair of binoculars. However, they offer the best magnification and clarity of any type of sporting optic, making them ideal for spotting animals from long distances. This article will review what to look for when making an investment in a spotting scope to help you choose the best scope for your needs.

The #1 Spotting Scope On the Market Today

It is incredibly difficult to name a single spotting scope as the best available. But if you’re looking for a general use scope that can be used for a variety of activities, has good features, and is priced within the realm of reason for most outdoorsmen, you should really consider the Vortex Optics Razor HD. Both a 16-48x65mm model and a 20-60x85mm model are available, depending on your budget and how powerful of a scope you would like. It comes with everything you need to get started, and its extra low dispersion glass gives it unbeatable image quality that you won’t get with very many other scopes, especially in that price range.

Typical Spotting Scope Uses

A guide to the best spotting scope for hunting, birding, and more.Spotting scopes can be used in a variety of contexts, but they are generally used to provide greater magnification than a pair of binoculars. These scopes are often used for hunting, archery, birding, and spotting wildlife. They can also be used to magnify a beautiful scenic mountain range. A spotting scope can be attached to a camera to take a long ranged pictures of a majestic animal without disturbing them or putting yourself in danger. Some people who use spotting scopes use them in conjunction with guns. This allows the person that is hunting to get a better view of the actual target before taking a shot. Spotting scopes are also used during target shooting to view the target hit at greater distances.

Features to Consider When Buying a Scope

Body Style

There are two types of spotting scopes: an angled body spotting scope, and a straight body spotting scope. Both work well in most situations, but one may be preferred over the other in certain viewing circumstances. An angled body scope is great for looking either up at your target or across flat ground. This type of scope is also perfect for viewing from the window of a vehicle. A straight body scope is best for viewing from a higher position, like from an elevated point on a mountain to catch a glimpse into the valley below.

Objective Lens

The absolute best option for a spotting scope is a high quality objective lens that is comprised of high performance glass. Always go for lens quality over size if you have to choose, as a larger lens of poor quality will result in a mediocre view when compared to a smaller lens of optimal quality. A larger lens will always produce a superior image at higher magnifications than a smaller lens of the same quality. Objective lens size can make a massive difference in price; expect to pay more for a larger scope.

Magnification

The magnification of a spotting scope is designed for viewing at ad distance where conventional binoculars no longer function. Most observation done with a spotting scope requires a magnification of 30x – 40x, which assures that most scopes are capable of producing reasonable images. As the lens quality goes up, the quality of the image increases as well. A bit of quality will always be lost at higher magnifications, but a higher quality scope will reduce the image drop-off quality.

The atmosphere also plays a big factor in the quality of the image being viewed. Humidity, glare, wind, and dust can all lower the quality of the image. High altitudes with dry climates are bound to produce higher quality images at high magnifications. Low altitude areas that are wet and humid may require a low magnification for a clear image. Many spotting scopes do not go higher than 60x due to the limitations set by the atmosphere for magnified viewing in the daylight.

Lens Coating

Lens coating is an important feature of a spotting scope, especially for viewing images at high magnifications. The lens can be fully coated, multi-coated, or fully multi-coated. Each lens coating improves the light transmitting into the lens, but the quality depends on the coating chosen for the specific scope. Premium spotting scopes all tend to be fully multi-coated to produce the optimal viewing experience.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is the distance the viewer’s eye can be from the eyepiece without losing any of field of view. This feature is especially necessary for people who wear glasses. With a big enough eye relief, even people who wear glasses with thick lenses will be able to see the full image without an issue. For those who require glasses to see, it is recommended to have at least 14mm of eye relief on a spotting scope.

Prism Type

Most spotting scopes are refractors that use prisms inside the scope to flip the image right side up and left to right. There are two different types of prisms used in spotting scopes: a roof prism and a porro prism. The roof prism spotting scope is slim and compact, but it tends to lack some key features like interchangeable eyepieces. It is an extremely portable scope that is perfect for someone who is always on the go. The porro prism spotting scope is the most efficient and the least expensive prism to produce, which makes it the most common.

Eyepieces

When purchasing a spotting scope, be aware that sometimes the eyepiece is not included in the price of the scope. If the eyepiece is included in the price, the eyepiece may not be removable. Higher end spotting scopes have removable eyepieces that often do not come included with the price of the scope, to give the buyer a chance to choose from the different options available. A single powered eyepiece has some optical advantages, but most people who use spotting scopes prefer the convenience of a zoom eyepiece. With this type of eyepiece, the magnification can be changed easily in a situation where the atmospheric conditions are not stable. A zoom eyepiece that is high quality will have a great eye relief as well as produce exceptional image quality.

Close Focus

A close focus is the nearest distance a spotting scope can view. Most spotting scopes do not have a close focus of less than 20 feet, so make sure the image being viewed is an adequate distance away. This feature is perfect for viewing birds and seeing intricate details on their feathers.

Waterproofing and Fogproofing

Waterproofing and fogproofing are not absolute necessities, but they are features that protect the spotting scope from atmospheric conditions. The seals that are produced to keep moisture out will also keep dust and debris from the scope, which will keep the spotting scope in good condition for a longer period of time.

Tripods

Due to the magnification levels of a spotting scope, a tripod or some support is needed to keep it steady during the viewing process. A car mount works well if viewing from a vehicle, but in most situations a tripod is required. All spotting scopes are threaded like a traditional camera, so there is no need for a specialized tripod. The tripod needs to support the scope, so if the spotting scope is heavy, the tripod needs to be heavy as well. For anyone using a spotting scope while hiking or traveling, make sure to consider the weight of the scope and the tripod before you commit to a long haul.

You can read our guide to the best tripods for spotting scopes to get some ideas for great tripods to use with your new optic.

Camera Adapters

Most spotting scopes can adapt to a camera to take long distance pictures. This process is often referred to as “digiscoping.” Make sure the scope and camera are compatible to assure a great picture from the mountain top. To properly “digiscope,” specific adaptors may be required for the camera to produce vibrant, razor sharp images that are of exceptional quality.

To learn more about the basics of spotting scopes, check out this awesome video:

Best Spotting Scopes for Hunting

For an avid hunter, the scope used to identify a target can mean the difference between a prized catch and the one that got away. A spotting scope will allow a hunter to get a better look at an elusive deer before taking a shot. It can offer a chance to pick an animal from a herd with enough magnification. Hunting spotting scopes all differ slightly, but they can be a tremendous help when using a rifle or a bow and arrow. Here are some of the most reliable spotting scopes for hunting:

Swarovski 80 mm STS HD Straight Spotting Scope

 

This 80 mm scope is a straight scope design that is perfect for hunting in the great outdoors. The scope features high density glass and a fully multi-coated lens to produce a razor sharp image. A rotating tripod ring gives the hunter some much appreciated positioning flexibility. With a close focus of 16 feet, wildlife near or far can be viewed with great results. The aluminum alloy body is a lightweight, sturdy solution for trekking through the woods, and the scope is coated with a Swaroclean Coating for extra protection from the elements. This water and fogproof scope also features a sunshade to help reduce the glare and shield the objective lens. With this model, the eyepiece is sold separately.

Vortex Razor HD 20-60×85 Angled Spotting Scope

This angled spotting scope comes at 85 mm. It has a close focus of 16 feet and produces crisp enhanced images through its sophisticated triplet apochromatic lens system. The compact, lightweight magnesium alloy body is equipped with an adjustable eyecup as well as a duel focus feature that allows for fine adjustments to image clarity. The Vortex Razor spotting scope is coated with an ArmorTek Lens Coating to repel oil from the lens. The scope is a model that has been weatherproofed against rain, snow, and fog suitable for any hunting expedition. A 20x – 60x magnification eyepiece is included with the purchase of this spotting scope as well as a rotating tripod ring to allow for more flexibility when positioning the scope.

 

Best Spotting Scopes for Target Shooting

In regards to target shooting, the distance for magnification may vary. Rain may not be an issue in this scenario, but it is important to remember that other atmospheric conditions such as humidity, air turbulence, and dust can affect the performance of the spotting scope. A few of the more dependable spotting scopes for target shooting are listed below.

• Leupold SX-1 Ventana 2 20-60x80mm

The SX-1 Ventana 2 features a sleek design and excellent optical quality. It delivers high contrast, bright visual, and has a good (and expansive) field of view. The angled eyepiece is comfortable and twist up eyecups and smooth focusing enhance the experience. It has fully multi-coated lens coating, is fog- and waterproof, and is less expensive than many of the other premium scopes it competes with.

Swarovski ATX 30-70×95 Angled Spotting Scope and separate ATX Eyepiece

The Swarovski ATX is a high-powered, angled scope that uses cutting edge lens technology to take the viewer to their spotting destination. The 30x – 70x magnification range will define a razor sharp image anywhere within the range that is free of distortion. The focus wheel and the zoom wheel are within easy reach to allow for a quick zoom with little to no adjustment. The high density, fully multi-coated lens produces a brilliant optical image, even in low-light situations. This scope is a bit on the heavy side, but the rotating tripod ring minimizes the need to move the scope once it is positioned.

Best Spotting Scopes for Birding

Birding has been revolutionized by spotting scopes, especially angled body scopes that are perfect for viewing an area where birds might be observed. A good quality spotting scope can be used to enhance images of a bird’s plumage in both short and far distances. A high magnification lens will bring to light the finest detail on a bird’s feathers, which will allow for species identification from greater distances. You can also combine your scope with a camera using digiscoping techniques to capture amazing pictures. Here are a few of the more popular spotting scopes available for bird watching:

Kowa TSN 883 Angled 88mm Prominar Spotting Scope

The Kowa TSN is a spotting scope that is perfect for birding because the lens and optical features are included. The dual focus, fluorite crystal lens provides superb images with enhanced features, such as color, contrast, and resolution. The fully multi-coated lens and the porro prism allow for a viewing experience that has exquisite light intake, even in low-light settings. Viewing birds at long distances results in a sharp, undistorted image, and higher magnification levels maintain an impeccable image quality. A lens of this quality is a bit heavy, so the body of the scope is made of a corrosion resistant, magnesium alloy material to help offset the weight. Eyepieces for this model are sold separately, but the design includes a locking mechanism to lock the removable eyepiece in place.

Leica Televid APO 82mm Angled Spotting Scope

The Leica Televid APO is an excellent angled spotting scope for bird watching. Compared to previous models, this scope has a six percent light yield increase that makes the image resolution even more distinct in any lighting. The fluoride glass brings vibrant color and detailed contrast to the table without sacrificing any range of view. This scope comes with a fog and water proof seal as well as a AquaDura Lens Coating that will repel water and moisture. These protective layers assure quality images are not obscured by dirt or fingerprints. The 12 feet close focus on this spotting scope is designed for bird watching. An avid bird watcher can use this scope to identify a bird from across the lawn to across the lake.

Best Compact Spotting Scopes

A compact spotting scope is a great tool for hunters and wildlife observers who are always on the move. Having a lightweight scope that can easily be managed on trails or in dense foliage will make a wildlife expedition easier and more exciting. Some of the best compact spotting scopes available on the market are listed below.

Minox MD 16-30×50 W Angled Spotting Scope

The Minox MD is a great lightweight, compact spotting scope for anyone traveling to view different types of wildlife in a variety of areas. The porro prism and the fully multi-coated lens offer a view with great color and clarity. The close focus is a bit larger than some photographers might like, but it is exceptional for securing considerable detail during those long range picture shoots. The sturdy metal exterior is fit with a rubber armoring that provides a secure non-slip surface, perfect for climbing a mountain with a lot of jagged rocks that could cause damage to the lens. The scope comes with a 16x – 30x eyepiece as well as weatherproof features that will protect the scope from inclement weather patterns.

Bushnell Sentry 12-36x50mm 789332 Ultra Compact Spotting x 40mm

Another great compact scope for those on the go is the Bushnell Legend in 12-36x50mm. This scope is a lightweight instrument perfect for hiking and other modes of travel. The fully multi-coated lens and the extra low dispersion glass give the scope a high-quality image with excellent light transmission. Make sure the image is pristine with the dual focus feature. Unfavorable weather is not a threat for the weatherproof protection.

Best Spotting Scope for the Money

When deciding which spotting scope to purchase, one should consider the features of the scopes as well as its performance. A great scope will be one that has most of the optimal features, but is offered at a lower price than competing scopes. After careful consideration, a few of the best buys for spotting scopes are:

Vortex Razor HD 16-48×65 Angled Spotting Scope

The Vortex Razor HD exceeds the quality level of many spotting scopes with heftier price tags. The top of the line lens features high density glass that is implemented to produce impeccable images free of imperfections. The high resolution and astounding sharpness can be seen throughout the entire field of view; it is even evident at full magnification. The angled body scope has a close focus of 11 feet, so wildlife that is nearby can be viewed without difficulty. In addition, a 16x – 48x magnification eyepiece is included with the purchase of the Vortex Razor. This specific spotting scope is protected from most atmospheric conditions, including rain, fog, snow, wind, and humidity. The protective layers also safeguard against dust, debris, and unwanted fingerprints.

Celestron Regal M2 16-48×65 ED Angled Spotting Scope

The Celestron Regal M2 is another great buy. This spotting scope produces exceptional images without distortion. The extra low dispersion glass enhances the image with a crisp resolution as well as vibrant colors. The edges of the viewing area are never out of focus, even at increased magnifications. Fine adjustments can be made with the dual focus feature. This light weight scope has a magnesium alloy body to prevent corrosion, and the optics are fully protected from the elements. A 16x – 48x magnification removable eyepiece is included with the purchase of the Celestron Regal M2 as well as a photo adapter that helps get the scope ready for “digiscoping” in the great outdoors. The scope is also equipped with a rotating tripod ring for greater flexibility while viewing and a sunshade to reduce the glare on the pictures taken.

Best Spotting Scopes under $200

Some situations call for products that don’t break the bank. Here are a few suggestions for quality spotting scopes under $200:

Redfield Rampage 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope

The Redfield Rampage is a great selection for anyone looking for a spotting scope in a low price range. In addition to a 20x – 60x magnification range, this spotting scope offers many features that are commonly seen in more expensive models. This lightweight scope will give you a clear image, especially at the mid range magnification levels. The fully multi-coated lens increases light transmission, giving the viewer a sharper image. The Redfield Rampage is designed to be rugged; the scope features weatherproof qualities to protect from the rain and fog.

Barska 30-90×90 Colorado Spotting Scope

Another great spotting scope under $200 is the Barska. This spotting scope features a straight body model that has a high magnification range of 30x – 90x, which is exceptional for this class of spotting scope. A fully coated porro prism helps increase the optics, giving the viewer a bright, high quality image. The Barka maintains noteworthy image quality and clarity in low light situations and at higher magnification levels.

Best Spotting Scopes under $500

Mid-ranged spotting scopes can still exhibit exceptional features. After some careful consideration, here are some great selections below the $500 price point:

Vortex Diamondback 20-60×80 Straight Spotting Scope

The Vortex Diamondback is an excellent mid-rang spotting scope. The great value is matched by a great performance that has a reputation for being on par with spotting scopes that cost twice as much. The fully multi-coated lens is coupled with a dielectric prism coating that optimizes light transmission, which gives the viewer an image that stays true to the bright colors seen in nature. The classic straight body design also features fog and water resistant seals that will protect the scope from moisture or debris. The Vortex Diamondback is a very sturdy scope that is great for “digiscoping.” A sunshade is included to help reduce the glare in the field of view.

Vanguard Endeavor HD 15-45×65 Angled Spotting Scope

A spotting scope with a top of the line reputation at a reasonable price is the Vanguard Endeavor. Vivid colors and sharp details are the result of an extra low dispersion glass and a fully multi-coated lens. This scope features a close focus of 14 feet and a magnification range of 15x – 45x to produce picture perfect, distortion-free images. Small adjustments can be made with the dual focus feature. This scope design also features weatherproofing as well as rubber armoring that are meant to protect the scope from damage. The Vanguard Endeavor is a scope that has an extended eye relief for more comfortable observation in the impressive field of view.

Best Spotting Scopes under $1000

Most people are willing to pay a little extra money to get the spotting scope features and the magnification levels they desire. A few of the choice spotting scopes under $1000 are listed below.

Vortex Viper HD 20-60×80 Angled Spotting Scope

The Vortex Viper is an angled body HD spotting scope that sports all of the top of the line features that are often seen in high end scopes. The optics on the Vortex Viper produce exceptional high resolution images that remain vivid in color and contrast. The lightweight design also features a rotating tripod ring and an adjustable eyecup for more comfortable viewing. It also has a dual focus feature that allows for coarse, fine adjustments to the image. The design is waterproof and fogproof with some added protection to keep any oil and debris from the lens. This model does include a 20x – 60x magnification eyepiece, which makes the overall value even better.

Pentax PF ED II 65mm ST Spotting Scope

The Pentax PF ED is a popular straight body spotting scope that offers extremely high performance at an affordable price. The lightweight scope has a magnesium alloy body that is easily portable for the spotter on the go. The extra low dispersion glass and the fully multi-coated lens give the scope an optical excellence characteristic of high end scopes. This model includes a 20x – 60x magnification lens that is combined with a sunshade to reduce glare. Images that are fully magnified maintain the clarity and vibrant detail seen at low magnifications. This scope can also be fit to a variety of astronomical eyepieces that create possibilities for the spotter to have a view into the galaxy.

There are a lot of different spotting scopes available on the market today, but not all scopes are created equally. This article was designed to introduce someone who is new to birding or other recreational activities where a spotting scope is useful to the different features that are available. Once a spotter is sure of the magnification they need, it comes down to knowing the price restraints for purchasing the scope and determining which extra features should be included in the price. If “digiscoping” is an ambition, make sure the spotting scope selected can accommodate. Hopefully, this article will help a new spotter determine which scope is best suited for them. Make sure to consider the suggestions made above, but also do additional research so your spotting scope lasts generations to come.

Reviews of the Best Binoculars for 2018

The Best BinocularsIt may seem like a strange notion to those who have never done it before, but buying a great pair of binoculars takes quite a bit of research and knowledge. Just like anything else, a quality pair of binoculars will provide you with a lot better images than buying a cheap pair from a discount store. As technology has improved, binoculars have become more modern and have improved in quality. Nevertheless, there are still some basic features that you should look for in a pair of binoculars, and this is what we will explain first. We hope that this guide is useful to you in finding the perfect pair of binoculars for your needs.

My #1 Recommendation

Choosing just one pair of binoculars to crown as our number one pick is a difficult thing to do. But if we had to, we would choose the Upland Optics Perception HD 10x42mm. These binoculars are tough as nails and give an excellent picture quality. They have the perfect magnification and field of view for a general pair of binoculars, and can be used for everything from hunting to bird watching. Our partner company Upland Optics does an amazing job, these binoculars are first class! Click here to see their price.

 

 

 

What to Look For in a Pair of Binoculars

Specifications

Magnification and Objective Lens Diameter

One of the most important features in a pair of binoculars is the magnification and objective lens diameter, which is typically included in model information. For example, in the Upland Optics Perception HD 10×42 mm – “10×42” is the magnification x objective lens diameter.

The magnification will usually appear as 8X, 10X, or even higher. When a pair of binoculars has a magnification of 10X, it means that you will be able to see a distant object 10 times larger than you would if you were not using binoculars. For instance, if you are viewing something that is 500 yards away, it will appear as if it were only 50 yards away. Magnification is often the most important thing that a buyer will look for in a pair of binoculars.

In the example above, 10 is the magnification, while the 42 means that the objective lens diameter is 42 millimeters. Lens objective size is very important, as larger lenses collect more light than smaller lenses. This means that objects will appear brighter in binoculars that have larger lenses. Furthermore, the size of the objective lens will greatly affect the field of view you will have, which we will discuss next.

Field of View

The next feature to understand is field of view. This is simply the amount of area that you are able to see when you are looking through your binoculars. The magnification of your binoculars as well as the diameter size of your objective lens will affect your field of view. There are a few ways to understand field of view:

  • Higher magnifications – smaller field of view
  • Larger lenses – larger field of view

reviews of binoculars

So, if you are comparing binoculars and they have the same magnification, the lens size will determine the field of view.

Actual and Apparent Field of View

The units of measurement that you may see when looking at field of view statistics are degrees and feet. When you see degrees, you will often see two numbers, and these will represent the degrees in the actual field of view and the degrees in the apparent field of view. The actual field of view is the number that matters. The apparent field of view is calculated from the actual field of view.

The actual field of view is the angle of your viewing window at the point after the binocular lenses. If you have a pair of 10X binoculars, and your actual field of view is 5 degrees, then your apparent field of view will be 50 degrees. You simply multiply the actual field of view measurement by the magnification of your binoculars in order to get the apparent field of view.

When the field of view is measured in feet, it is a bit less complicated. If you see a field of view of 300 feet, it means that you are able to see 300 feet at 1,000 yards. This means that if there were a 300 foot building off in the distance, you can get as close as 1,000 yards and still be able to see it in its entirety through your binoculars.

Eye Relief

For people who wear eyeglasses, eye relief is an important specification. Eye relief is closely related to field of view, as it is the distance that you can hold the binoculars away from your is a good rule of thumb for people with eyeglasses. With sufficient eye relief, a person that wears glasses is able to enjoy the same field of view as everyone else.

Exit Pupil Diameter

The exit pupil diameter relates to the brightness your binoculars provide. It is the measurement of the size of the ray of light that will hit your eyes after it travels through the lens. The exit pupil diameter is determined through dividing the lens size by the magnification. The larger the number that is obtained, the brighter the images will appear when viewing through the respective binoculars. Matching a higher magnification with a larger lens size ensures that you will not sacrifice on the brightness of your image.

Additional Binocular Features

Aside from those key specifications that were discussed above, you may be interested in some other features that are common in binoculars.

Compact Size

Many people find that having compact sized binoculars is an advantage when traveling through rough terrains or carrying lots of equipment. New technology is constantly improving on the size and weight of these binoculars. Currently, you can find models that weigh half a pound and are of very high quality. In the future, compact sized binoculars may even be the norm. Today, however, many are not as powerful as their full-sized counterparts.

Weatherproof Binoculars

Many environments where binoculars are used are treacherous, and binoculars are constantly exposed to the elements. Water can damage the equipment that we carry, so developers have started to design water resistant and waterproof binoculars. Many also include fogproof design. While the degree of water protection may vary, this is a good feature that will prevent your binoculars from fogging up or getting water damage. Some binoculars may even be able to submerge in water for a short time, but make sure that you have checked your manual before attempting that.

Lens Coating

Lens coating is often what differentiates cheap binoculars from high quality binoculars. Binoculars that are worth buying often have at least one coat over the lenses that improves clarity and protects them from scratches. This makes them more durable, and they will produce higher quality images for a longer period of time.

Basic Uses and Recommendations

General

If you are looking for binoculars for general sport use, marine use, or for the theatre, you will want at least a pair of 7 x 25 lenses. This will ensure that you have enough magnification, but not too much where your field of view will be impaired. The field of view should be between 300-350 feet, with the higher end being for marine use. You may also want to consider waterproof binoculars for marine use.

Bird Watching and Hunting

For bird watching and hunting, you will want a pair of 8 X 30 lenses. Waterproof is always a good idea for these purposes. The field of view should be at least 350 feet. You may want to consider more powerful binoculars if you are looking at far away animals, or maybe even a spotting scope to complement your field binoculars.

Golfing

If you want binoculars for golfing, either as a player or a spectator, a pair of 6 X 17 should suffice. In golf, you are looking at stationary objects that are not terribly far away, so you do not need very high powered lenses. A range finder may be useful if you are using them for golf in order to know the distance between you and the hole or other obstacles such as bunkers and bodies of water.

Stargazing

Stargazing presents a special set of circumstances, as you are viewing stationary objects that are very far away. To make it more complicated, the environment will have minimal light available. 10X 40 binoculars are typically recommended for this purpose. You can afford higher magnifications because you will not be moving the binoculars much, and to make up for the diminished field of vision and darker images that this will present, you have the large lens diameter.

Next, we will delve more specifically into binocular makers and specific pairs of binoculars for every need and budget. First we will start with an overview of binocular manufacturers.

The Best Binocular Brands

Bushnell

Bushnell is a giant in imaging products in the United States, and it makes everything from high quality rifle scopes, microscopes, telescopes, and of course, binoculars. The company was founded in Japan by David P. Bushnell when it was occupied by Allied forces during WWII in 1948. Bushnell’s binoculars have won multiple awards for their quality, and most recently, the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10X42 binoculars were awarded binocular of the year by binoculars.com.

Zeiss

Zeiss is one of the oldest, most reputable optics and imaging companies in the world, and it makes very high quality binoculars. Not only does it deal in sporting optics like Bushnell, but it also makes optic devices for medical use and even space telescopes. It was founded in Germany in 1846, and it has become a leader in the industry since then. One of the most popular binoculars it has on the market right now are the Zeiss 10X42 Victory HT binoculars.

Nikon

Known for its digital cameras, Nikon also makes stellar binoculars. Nikon is now a huge company that was founded in Japan in 1917. It specializes in lenses, binoculars and other advanced imaging technology. Their best-selling binoculars have historically been from the Monarch line. Today, the 8X42 Monarch 5 take that distinction.

Steiner

Steiner has a rich history in the optics industry, and it has arguably one of the most advanced optics laboratories in the world. Every lens and pair of binoculars that Steiner produces is field tested extensively to ensure that it is a very high quality product. This German company prides itself in producing binoculars that will be serviceable for multiple lifetimes. You can be sure that if you buy Steiner binoculars like the Safari Ultrasharp 8X22, you will have a product that you are satisfied with for life.

Of course, this is not an all-inclusive list, and there are many more manufacturers that make outstanding binoculars. If you are in the market for a pair of high quality pair of binoculars, you should not limit yourself to these brands.

Next, we will focus on the best binoculars for specific uses.

Best Binoculars for Hunting

When hunting big game, binoculars are one of the most important pieces of gear you will need. They will allow you to scan for animals that you cannot see with your naked eye. This makes them an indispensable tool in the field.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when choosing a pair of binoculars for hunting. First off, remember that you’ll often be looking for animals in low light conditions, so light transmission is crucial. Also, you’ll be lugging them around difficult terrain, so buy a quality pair that will be able to take a few bumps without any major problems. 10×42 is the most common size of binoculars to carry while hunting, although you may want a larger pair if you are doing long range spotting.

Here are four five that are extremely highly rated and are worth checking out:

Upland Optics Venator

The upgraded version of our #1 recommendation above, the Venator are the pair to get if you are a hunter looking for the best glass possible. With excellent light transmission and lens coatings, they deliver top grade optical performance while also being durable enough to survive hunting in the toughest of environments.

Nikon Monarch Best Hunting BinocularsNikon Monarch Binoculars

Nikon Monarch binoculars come in three sizes: 8X42, 10X42, and 12X42, so you have many choices at your disposal. The standard 10X42 have a 288 ft. field of view, and 18.4mm eye relief. Also, these binoculars are waterproof, fog proof, and have coated lenses. They weigh around 21.9 ounces.

Bushnell Legend Ultra HD

These are Bushnell’s most critically acclaimed binoculars, and it is no surprise that they are some of the best binoculars for hunting out there. They come in 4 sizes: 8X36, 8X42, 10X36, and 10X42. The 10X42 variety have a 340 ft. field of view, and 15.2 mm eye relief. Like the Nikon pair, Bushnell Legend Ultra binoculars are waterproof, fog proof and have coated lenses. They weigh in at 24.7 ounces.

Vortex Diamondback

Vortex Diamondback binoculars are of very high quality, and although the company is not as big as its competitors, it can deliver a great product. Diamondbacks come in 4 sizes: 8X28, 8X42, 10X42, and 12X50. The 10X42 pair have a 345 ft. field of view and 16 mm eye relief. These binoculars are waterproof, fog proof and have coated lenses. They weigh 24.4 ounces.

Vanguard Spirit ED

Vanguard’s Spirit ED binoculars are very worthy of mention in this section. They come in four sizes: 8X36, 8X42, 10X42, and 10X50. The 10X42 pair have a 314 ft. field of view and 16 mm eye relief. Like its counterparts in this section, these binoculars are waterproof, fog proof, and have coated lenses. They weigh a bit more than the other binoculars in this section at 29.8 ounces.

Best Binoculars for Birding

If birding is your hobby, the following are some binoculars that you should definitely consider purchasing in order to have the best viewing experience. Because birding is more about the picture quality and feel, picking a pair of binoculars without trying them first is very difficult.

Athlon Cronus 10×42

If your main priority is high quality glass and you don’t want to spend a fortune, the Cronus might be the perfect fit for you. High quality glass and ESP Dielectric coating give these binoculars excellent clarity and light transmission, making them perfect for bird watchers who want to see every detail.

Zeiss Victory Best Birding BinocularsZeiss Victory THT 8X42

These binoculars are considered top-of-the-line, and this is noticeable in the price tag. They feel great in the hands and have great clarity and eye relief. They are widely considered some of the best binoculars that money can buy.

Zeiss Victory TFL 8X32

These are a smaller version of the THT binoculars, but they still have all of the benefits of a top-of-the-line pair of binoculars. If you can afford these, you cannot go wrong with them. Zeiss also has midrange priced binoculars, Zeiss Conquest HD, which are of excellent quality and a great alternative to the Victory line.

Nikon Monarch 7

These are ¼ of the price of binoculars like the Zeiss Victory, but they deliver exceptional quality and image. The Monarch line has been very popular among birders for years, and it continues to deliver.

Leica Trinovid

The Trinovid line has been around for a long time, and experienced birders will likely recognize it. The new Trinovid line offers exceptional quality and a bright, clear image.

Best Compact Binoculars

If you are looking for compact binoculars that you can take with you comfortably everywhere, here is a list that will give you an idea of where to start looking. The following are widely considered some of the best compact binoculars on the market.

Swarovski CL Pocket 8X25 Binoculars

These are very high quality compact binoculars that fold up easily and can fit in your pocket. Furthermore, they are waterproof and fog proof. They are made by Swarovski, so you know you are getting some of the best binoculars on the market with these.

Vanguard Orros 10X25 Binoculars

These binoculars feel great in your hands, as they have a very lightweight rubberized body. The shape is very compact, and they can fold down to store anywhere. Furthermore, these binoculars are very affordable.

Pentax 9X28 DCF LV Binoculars

Unlike many compact counterparts, these binoculars offer a 9X magnification without sacrificing too much field of view. They are waterproof and fog proof, and while they are mid-priced binoculars, they offer exceptional optical quality. They also have a great design and feel great in your hands.

Best Astronomy and Stargazing Binoculars

Many stargazers and astronomers prefer to use binoculars instead of telescopes to look at the stars. If you want to get into stargazing, or are already an avid stargazer and are looking for binoculars, the following are a few binoculars that are definitely worth your consideration.

Celestron Echelon 20X70 Binoculars

Since you are stargazing, you want a higher magnification along with a bigger lens. These are very high quality binoculars that are tripod adaptable in order to allow for long stargazing periods. They are not too heavy that you cannot pick them up and use them with your hands for added flexibility.

Celestron 15X70 SkyMaster Binoculars

These offer exceptional performance and come at a great price for viewing the night sky. The lenses are multicoated, which makes your image of the stars much clearer. Aside from stargazing, these have other great uses including bird watching as well.

Best Binoculars for Safaris

If you enjoy viewing wildlife, specifically wildlife on safaris, there are a few binoculars that you should research and test before looking at any others. Consider these as you embark on your safari trip.

Celestron Granite 9X33 Binoculars

These binoculars have a wide field of view, which is excellent for safaris. Since they are 9X, you get a little more detail of the object you are looking at. The lenses are very high quality, and with these you will get a very crisp image.

Swarovski EL W B Traveler 8X32

These are top-of-the-line midsized binoculars that offer impeccable optical quality. They are optimal for taking on safaris, and their open bridge design makes them comfortable to hold with one hand. Furthermore, they offer a digital camera adapter so that you can take high quality photos through them. Swarovski produces some of the best imaging products in the world, and this is no exception.

Best Binoculars for Kids

When engaging children in nature activities, the right set of binoculars can go a long way towards getting them excited about their surroundings. Certain binocular features are more important than others when it comes to children’s binoculars, such as the maximum magnification level. The recommended maximum is 8x, as this gives children a wide enough view to keep their eyes on the interesting sight even if their hands are shaky.

The size and weight of the binoculars is also important, as bulky binoculars may be difficult for children to hold on to. With these factors in mind, consider both of the following highly rated binoculars for kids:

Bresser 6×21 Junior Compact Binoculars

With a colorful casing guaranteed to catch your child’s eye, the Bresser 6×21 is a compact binocular with a maximum 6x magnification that is perfect first binocular for children of any age. The state-of-the-art optical system delivers clear images, while the rubber armored body is built to endure all types of damage. Affordably priced, the Bresser 6×21 also comes with a five year guarantee.

Opticron Discovery WP PC 8×32 Binoculars

Built for the older child, the Opticron Discovery is both compact and lightweight enough to deliver comfort regardless of how long the nature walk lasts. An 8x optical system also delivers clear images from a distance, while the affordable prices guarantees a great return on the investment. With a durable design built to last through years of wear and tear, the Opticron Discovery remains one of the best children’s binoculars on the market.

Best Binoculars with Built in Camera

For the professional photographer or birdwatcher, a quality sighting through a pair of binoculars is only worthwhile if the image can be captured. Luckily, modern technology has intersected with current demands to yield a new generation of binoculars with built in cameras. Some of the best digital camera binoculars on the market today are both inexpensive and easy-to-setup. Learn more about two of the industry leaders below:

Vivitar 10×25 DigiCam Binoculars

Though the slightly heavy design may seem inconvenient at first, the Vivitar Digicam Binoculars are well worth the effort with a 640X480 resolution on the attached camera. Add to that the 16 megabytes of internal storage and these camera binoculars become perfect for both long and short sightseeing events, from sports games to nature walks and more. Designed for comfort and precision, the Vivitar 10×25 carries a long battery life as well to ensure long-term use on almost any outing.

Eoncore 2″ LCD Display Digital Camera Binoculars 12×32 

For a highly affordable set of binos with a built-in digital camera and video camera, look no further than this Amazon bestseller that averages 4 stars from customers. These are very popular with avid birdwatchers, making it simple to capture quality images of the birds in the wild for identification or saving for later. There are many things you can do with this device, so it’s highly versatile and easy to customize.

 

Best Rangefinder Binoculars

Open ranges can be a thing of beauty all on their own. However, there are few ranges that cannot be enhanced by a great pair of rangefinder binoculars. Regardless of the type of rangefinder binoculars you plan on purchasing (golf, hunting, digital, etc.), the goal is to improve aim while also allowing for a wide field of view regardless of the terrain. If you want this feature in a separate device, you can always get a stand alone laser rangefinder.

Learn more about two of the best rangefinder binoculars on the market below:

Leica Geovid HD-B Binocular

Though pricier than other brands of binoculars, the reward is well worth the cost as the Leica Geovid is one of the most accurate rangefinder binoculars on the market. Featuring state-of-the-art optics and a field of view exceeding 1,000 yards, these industry-leading Leica binoculars offer everything from automatic adjustments of the visual settings to an ergonomic design that ensures comfort regardless of how long they are held.

Zeiss Victory RF Binocular

Fluoride glass is one of the secrets to the Zeiss Victory’s premium imagery, ensuring that every sight seen through these lens is of the best quality possible. A 45 millimeter objective lens adds to sight quality while the field of view remains one of the best in its class. Though slightly heavier than other comparable binoculars, the Zeiss Victory makes up for it with convenient button placement for added comfort.

The Best Binoculars for the Money

After all of the binoculars that have been listed so far, you may be wondering, “Which ones provide me with the best value?” The following binoculars are widely thought to give buyers the best bang for the buck.

Swarovski CL Pocket 8X25 Binoculars

Although they may seem pricey, these binoculars are cheap compared to the other $1200+ priced binoculars that Swarovski offers. Furthermore, they are better than almost anything else on the market.

Hawke Sapphire ED 8X42 Binoculars

These binoculars have amazing specs, they are waterproof and fog proof, and they have a lightweight body made of magnesium. Add to this the unparalleled optical quality that they offer and you will realize that the price is a great bargain.

Upland Optics Perception HD 10×42 Binoculars

These are some of the best binoculars out there at any price point, and they are under $300 dollars! They offer exceptional optics, water repellant lens coating, a light weight chassis, and unparalleled image quality.

Celestron Nature DX 8X42 Binoculars

These will appeal to those on a tight budget, but also to those looking for a great value and optical quality. These are fully sealed waterproof and fog proof binoculars that deliver a great image, and the price will make you very happy.

Best Binoculars for Under $100

If you are on a tight budget and can only spend $100 or less, you can still get quality binoculars. The following binoculars will offer great quality for their price.

Nikon 8245 Aculon Binoculars

These binoculars are so good that you may find some vendors selling them for $200 due to demand, but if you look in the right place, mainly online, you can find them for under $100 dollars. They provide a quick central focus system and a 420 foot field of view. One downside to these is that they are not waterproof.

Celestron 20X80 Skymaster Binoculars

Celestron simply makes great quality products at a great price. These are great for stargazing and many other uses, and they have a water-resistant, not waterproof body.

Best Binoculars for Under $200

If you have a little more to spend, these are some binoculars you should consider that are under $200 dollars.

Vanguard 10X42 Spirit XF Binoculars

These binoculars offer a wide field of view, multi coated lenses, and high quality images. If you are a causal binocular user, you simply cannot go wrong with these.

Hawk Nature-Trek 8X42 Binoculars

If you want high quality, low weight binoculars, then you have found them. These are fully waterproof and fog proof, and they provide a relatively good field of view and close focus. These are a great choice for the budget conscious buyer.

The Best Binoculars on the Market

If you want the best-of-the-best, and you are fortunate enough to have no price limitations on the binoculars that you are looking for, then the following is a list of the best binoculars that money can buy.

Upland Optics Perception HD 10×42 Binoculars

See description in the Best Value section.

Zeiss 10X42 Victory HT Binocular

These are often listed as the best binoculars that money can buy, period. They offer a viewing experience like no other binoculars, and you can see even the finest details of your object in dimming light. They are very robust, and offer a staggering 95% light transmission. If you want the best-of-the-best, then these are the binoculars for you.

Conclusion

The world of binoculars is huge, and it will take many years for the beginner to explore and learn. With time, you will be able to appreciate minor differences between binoculars, and you will develop a taste of your own. I hope that this guide will provide you with sufficient information to begin your exciting journey into the world of binoculars.

Reviews of the Best Rifle Scopes for 2018

The Best Rifle Scopes

Click to see bestsellers

Whether you are a hunter, or you just enjoy shooting for sport, you know that choosing a scope for your rifle will be one of the biggest factors in determining how accurately you’ll be able to shoot. A scope allows you to zoom in on your target, and precisely lock in exactly where you want your shot to land.

There are many scopes on the market from many different reputable manufacturers, so choosing the best one is a daunting task. In the end, the scope you choose will largely come down to personal preference and your shooting needs. This guide will help you figure out what the best scope is to suit your (and your rifle’s) needs.

My #1 Recommendation

If I had to pick one scope to recommend above all others, especially on a modest budget, the crown would go to the Vortex Diamondback. Vortex is an incredibly popular brand of sporting optics, and for good reason. Their products are very high quality, and generally are in the mid range in terms of price. I like their 4-12×40 model scope personally, as it allows me to zoom in just far enough while still being able to make close up shots by cranking back the zoom. Click to see the price.

The Vortex Diamondback is our top pick

Best Rifle Scopes For the Money

Rifle scopes can range from $40 up to thousands of dollars depending on how much one is willing to spend. Depending on what the rifle scope is being used for, you can sometimes get away with or at least get the same results with a cheaper scope that you could do with a higher end one. You should always think about what is economically sound for you to spend on a scope, because a some scopes that are $100 might be all you need, and you can save money by purchasing these scopes instead of getting the highest quality scope that really doesn’t improve your chances anymore than the cheaper one. Below are just a few different scopes that are considered to be the best in their dollar range, but before choosing your scope, you should look at all the details in order to make sure it will provide you with a solution to all of your individual needs.

Best Rifle Scope Under $100

There are a lot of different rifle scopes that you can get for under $100, many of which you probably want to avoid. However the UTG 3-9×32 BugBuster Scope is one of, if not the best in this price range. It offers a lot of quality features, and has a sterling reputation with thousands of online reviews.

UTG 3-9x32 BugBusterFeatures:

  • Mildot reticle with both red and green illumination.
  • Lockable and reset-able turret design.
  • It comes with 3-9x magnification, and the objective lens is 32 millimeters.
  • Included with the scope are a 2″ sun shade, quick release rings, and flip cap covers.

While it won’t compare to the Zeiss and Nightforce scopes at the end of this list in terms of optical clarity and quality, this budget scope is perfect for getting the job done with a minimal financial burden. Click to see the price.

Best Rifle Scope Under $200

There are a wide variety of scopes in this price range, including many from well known manufacturers, and it was Nikon that won here. For a price tag that is handily under the $200 mark, the Nikon P-223 3-9x40mm is of exceptional quality. It is designed for rifles chambered in .223 (although it would work for many others as well), and it is made by Nikon, which is one of the best rifle scope brands on the market (as well as optics brands in general).

Nikon P 223 3-9x40Features:

  • This scope comes with 3-9x magnification, and it has a large 40 millimeter objective lens.
  • 1/4 MOA tactical style hand adjustable turrets with reset functionality.
  • BDC 600 reticle designed specifically for .223 caliber rounds.
  • Nitrogen filled, water and fog proof design.

Also in this price range is the Vortex scope I recommended at the top of the article, which you should really consider (especially if you are shooting something other than .223). Click to see the price.

Best Rifle Scope Under $300

This scope price range was a little more difficult to narrow down, but in the end, the best rifle scope for under $300 came out to be the Nikon PROSTAFF 5 BDC 3.5-14×40 Rifle Scope. It offers a variety of different features that makes it stand out more so than the others in this particular price range. The average price of this scope before taxes and shipping is around $279, but of course, that depends on where it is you purchase it from. It could be slightly more or even less if you search for a good deal.

Nikon ProStaff 5 BDCFeatures:

  • This rifle comes with 3.5-14x magnification, and it is equipped with a 40 millimeter objective lens.
  • With this rifle scope, adjustments are made extremely easy thanks to its Spring-Loaded Instant Zero Reset Turrets.
  • Thanks to being a Nikon product, which is one of the best rifle brands on the market, this scope is optimized to be used with Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Match Technology.
  • This scope makes any rifle superior at long range shooting thanks to Nikon’s patented BDC reticle, which has see through ballistic circles.
  • Using this scope on your rifle will make bringing the reticle into focus quick and easy with its quick focus eyepiece.

As stated earlier, Nikon is one of the top brands on the market for making high quality rifle scopes, and this particular rifle scope is just one of the mid price range examples of why they made it to the top brand list. Click to see the price.

Best Rifle Scope Under $500

This category was a hard choice to make. Out of all the different rifle scopes in this price range, I couldn’t narrow down to just one scope, but I was able to narrow it down to the top two rifle scopes for less than $500.

The Vortex Viper PA 30mm Tube Rifle Scope – Although this brand didn’t make it in the top rifle scope brands, this particular scope could not be overlooked. It is one of the top rifle scopes on the market today. It has a variety of different aspects that make it this way, and it will surely get the job done efficiently and effectively. On average, this scope is generally anywhere from $448 to $461 depending on where you decide to purchase it.

Vortex Viper PAFeatures:

  • It comes with a one-piece tube that is 30 millimeters, which makes it easier to store without having to worry about loosing any removable parts.
  • It is actually made out of aircraft grade aluminum to guarantee it’s sturdiness.
  • It comes equipped with tall turrets which allows the shooter using it to quickly and easily make any adjustments.
  • There is also a side knob parallax adjustment for versatility. Click to see the price.

Nikon Monarch 3 4-16x50mm Side Focus Rifle Scope – Once again, Nikon makes the top! This variable scope is by far one of the top rifle scopes on the marketplace today price ranged under $500. On average, the Nikon Monarch 3 runs around $418, but that is mainly determined at where you decide to purchase it from, and that is not including any kind of tax or shipping. Nikon does not disappoint with this scope as it has many of the features that Nikon is known for using on their high end scopes.

Nikon Monarch 3Features:

  • The Nikon Monarch 3 comes with 4-16x magnification, and it also comes with a larger than normal objective lens. It’s lens is actually 50 millimeters.
  • It is renowned because of its Ultra Clear Coat Optical System which allows up to 95% light transmission.
  • It has a quick focus eyepiece that is meant to allow the shooter to instantly bring their reticle into focus.
  • It’s best feature is the MONARCH 3 Eye Box Technology which allows for a 4 time zoom range. It also allows for a four inch eye relief.
  • This scope is optimized to be used with the Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Match Technology.
  • Last but not least, it is easily adjusted thanks to its Spring Loaded Instant Zero Reset Turrets. Click to see the price.

Top Rifle Scopes For an Unlimited Budget

When money is no object, all the rules of the game completely change. A lot of the scopes over $1000 are made by brands that are not seen at the lower budget products. There is a simple answer as to why that is. When most people think of the best brands, they think about the brands that the majority of people who buy a product actually purchase. That is why the higher end rifle scope brands may vary from the over all best and most popular brands. Seeing as this category in finances is so broad, below are two different rifle scopes that can be considered the best rifle scope for those that have an unlimited budget. You should also consider looking at Schmidt & Bender and Swarovski.

Zeiss Conquest Rifle scopes 5-25×50 Black Rapid Z 1000 – On average, this particular scope runs around $1100. It has a lot of different features, and it is manufactured by Zeiss one of the more popular brands among those that enjoy the high end and expensive rifle scopes. Below are just a few of the many features that makes this rifle scope stick out among all of the other unlimited budget scopes on the market today.

Zeiss Conquest Rapid Z 1000Features:

  • This scope comes with a 50 millimeter objective lens, and it comes with 5-25 magnification ability.
  • It is used mainly for hunting anything at long range, including predators, big game, and varmints.
  • It has a robust, one piece tube that is built to stand some of the worst recoils even on extremely demanding terrains.
  • For the rifles that have a harsh recoil, this scope has a 3.5 inch eye relief in order to help protect the shooter’s face from the rifle’s recoil.
  • The Zeiss Conquest rifle scope is one of the most ideal scopes for those that enjoy target shooting on the range.
  • One of the things that helps this be an ideal scope for long range shooting, it offers precision aiming with accurate holdover and wind-corrected information.
  • The lenses of this scope are MC multi-coated, and this help by achieving outstanding brightness regardless of low light situations that might arise on the hunt. Click to see the price.

Nightforce NXS Rifle Scope 30mm Tube 5.5-22x 56MM Hi-Speed – The Nightforce NXS Rifle Scope is a high speed scope that could not be ignored for the unlimited budget best category. Nightforce is one of the top brands for professional rifle scopes, and that is why it didn’t make the top brand list. Most Nightforce scopes cost way more than the average person would even think about paying for a sports scope for their rifle. This scope generally runs anywhere from $2,250 to $2,500. Generally, the price depends on where one purchases this scope. Below are just a few of the unique features that this scope has to offer someone.

Nightforce NXSFeatures:

  • The NXS Rifle Scope comes with 5.5-22x magnification, and it also has a 56 millimeter objective lens.
  • It has a 30 millimeter diameter tube.
  • The eye relief for the NXS Rifle Scope is 3.9 inches.
  • It has finger adjustable turrets and it has a click adjustment.
  • The field of view for this scope at 5.5x magnification is 17.5′, and the field of view at 22x magnification is 4.7′ at 100 yards.
  • The NXS Rifle Scope has a exit pupil diameter of 10.2 to 2.5 millimeters, and the scope weighs around 32 oz.
  • This scope can be recommended for just about all types of weather, because it is shock proof, water proof, and fog proof. Click to see the price.

Types of Scopes

There are a lot of different types of scopes, but they can practically all be placed in two categories. It is important to understand the different types of scopes and the pros and cons to each one before purchasing one. Below are three of the different types of scopes, and they are the most common scopes on the market.

1. Variable Scopes – By far the most common, variable scopes are useful if magnification of the target is needed for a clean shot. With these types of scopes, the shooter can adjust the magnification of the target that they are looking at. These types of scopes come in a variety of magnification variables, and depending on what you are hunting, this could be extremely important. Sniper rifles often use variable scopes, because sniper rifles are used at a much farther distance than a normal hunting rifle.

2. Fixed Scopes – These scopes can be a little less complicated than variable scopes, but they are also only better if people know exactly the specs they need when shooting their gun. You cannot adjust the magnification on fixed scopes like you can on variables. Therefore, these scopes are only recommended in certain occasions and for certain types of firearms.

3. Night Vision Scopes – These are specialty scopes. They can be combined as a variable scope or a fixed scope. What makes these scopes different is the fact that they are used for shooting at night or at times of day when there is a small amount of light to naturally see the target. They are very expensive and bulky, so before choosing a night vision scope, make sure that you actually need to shoot during low light hours of the day.

How to Choose a Rifle Scope

buying a rifle scopeThe majority of rifle users want the best scope for their rifle in order to help with whatever it is they are hunting. In the past, the old metallic sights that were placed on rifles were a lot harder to aim with than the newer scopes on the market today. When using a rifle scope, one thing should come to mind: simplicity. The use of a rifle scope has made it a lot easier for the majority of people to be able to line up a kill shot on their target.

When using a rifle scope, all you have to do to get a kill on your target is line up your cross hairs or reticles on the target that you are aiming at. 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. There are a large number of factors that need to go into thought when choosing the right rifle scope.

Is bigger and more expensive always better?

This can be a tricky question to answer when you are dealing with rifle scopes. The best way to answer this question is this. When you are going to look for your idle rifle scope, you should ask yourself what is it that you are going to be shooting at. In general, if you are a deer hunter, using anything over a 3-9x or 4-12x scope on your rifle would be overkill, and it could actually hinder you in the long run. Those are the average scope sizes for anyone wanting to go hunting, because they offer what is needed for the majority of rifle users.

You also need to figure in what kinds of shots you are planning on having to take. If you know that you are going to be shooting far away at your prey, then you will be using a different scope as opposed to shooting at something closer. This has a lot to deal with having the proper magnification on the scope that you choose in order to be able to perform the hunting that you wish to do.

What do the Numbers on a Scope tell me?

This is a good question to ask. Before you can properly choose a rifle scope, you need to know what the numbers on your scope actually mean. In order to help with this, I am going to reference you to a Nikon P-223 3-9×40 SF rifle scope in order to explain the importance of the numbers on a rifle scope. The numbers when choosing a scope that are important are the 3-9×40.

In this particular number, the 3 means that any image that you look at through this scope will appear three times closer to you than it would to the naked eye. The 9 means the same thing. If the scope that you choose has a 9 like this one it means that you can see your target 9 times closer through the scope than with the naked eye. The last number, in this case the 40, is the objective lens diameter in millimeters. If you see a number like this, these scopes are classified as variable scopes. Basically, you can choose if you want your target to be 3 times magnified up to 9 times magnified. In general, the larger the magnification range, the more that particular scope will cost. This is because the wider the range the more versatile that scope will be.

Why is eye relief and light transmission important when choosing a scope?

A shooter’s age can affect the dilation of their eyes. People who are older will experience smaller dilation than someone of a younger age. An exit pupil is extremely important when choosing your scope. Basically, an exit pupil can be determined by holding a scope out at arms length from you. The small circle of light that appears in the scopes eyepiece when doing this is the exit pupil. The exit pupil is extremely important when thinking about eye relief because the larger the exit pupil is the less important head positioning in relation to the scope becomes.

When talking about eye relief in regards to rifle scopes, eye relief is the distance that your eye can be away from the ocular lens of the scope and still provide a full and clear picture of your target. Currently, four inches is the largest eye relief available for any standard rifle scope. If you are using the rifle correctly, four inches in plenty of distance for your face to be out of the way of any recoil your rifle might do. You should always pay attention to the amount of eye relief and exit pupil that a scope offers before purchasing it.

What should I look for in a scope in regards to the objective lens size?

On most medium variable scopes, the standard object lens size is anywhere from 40 to 44 millimeters. There are objective lenses on the market that are larger, but in most cases these larger lenses are not necessary. As a matter of fact, the larger the objective lens on a rifle scope is, the harder it is to be able to hold your rifle properly. These larger lens also can cause your rifle to be a little less comfortable to shoot due to the fact they can make the rifle feel unbalanced, clumsier, and heavier.

Why is Field of View on a rifle scope so important?

When speaking about rifles, field of view is generally measure at every 100 yards. What this means is the field of view is the amount that you are actually able to see from right to left at a distance through your scope. When adjusting the magnification of your scope, your field of view will be adjusted. In general, if you decrease the magnification of your scope your field of view will actually increase. This is generally more important with variable scopes, because the difference in magnification can change the field of view drastically. For instance, if you are using a 3-12×42 scope, if the magnification is set to 3 then your field of view will be the full 100 yards. However, if your magnification was turned closer to 12, your field of view would actually decrease down to somewhere around 14 to 10 yards.

For more about choosing the top rifle scope, watch the below video:

Best Rifle Scope Brands

revies of rifle scopesJust like any other product, there are a lot of different brands and companies that make rifle scopes, but just like with every other product, there are a number of brands that stick out in the market. Below are a list of the top six brands that make rifle scopes, and they all got on this list for a variety of reasons. Some have created special features that make their scopes better in certain aspects, and some brands have an all around aspect to their products that put them on top.

Leupold

A family owned company since its founding in 1907, Leupold & Stevens is without one of the highest quality optic manufacturers in the world. It’s scopes are used by the United States Marine Corps and Navy SEALs, which definitely is a major vote of confidence in their design and manufacturing. They make everything from simple hunting scopes to the incredibly powerful and adjustable tactical designs used by the military.

Redfield

Redfield was purchased by Leupold & Stevens, Inc. back in April of 2008, but they did not acquire any of Redfield’s capability of repairing their products that were made prior to them buying the company. However, Redfield is still currently one of the top manufacturers of rifle scopes on the market. Their motto is “No Excuses”, and they offer a full lifetime warranty to their customers on all of their non-electronic products like their rifle scopes.

Sightmark

Sightmark was founded back in 2007, and they have steadily been growing in the modern shooting market thanks to their products and rifle scopes. Currently, they are operated out of Mansfield, Texas, and there motto is “Make Your Mark”. They offer a variety of different products that are ranked top of the market, and they are known for making Triple Duty, Ezekiel, and Pinnacle rifle scopes that excel in performance.

Burris

Burris considers themselves specialists when it comes to making rifle scopes. They vow that they only employ the most passionate and knowledgeable engineers to manufacture their products. Burris products are not only used by the occasional hunter or sports shooter, but some of their rifle scopes are used by professionals throughout the entire world. Burris is best known for their scopes having lenses with larger diameters than most of their competitors.

Bushnell

Bushnell is one of the older popular rifle scope manufacturers with their products still on the market. They have been in business for over 65 years, and they pride themselves on providing only the best quality to their customers. The majority of their products are some of the more reliable and affordable hunting products, like rifle scopes on the market to date.

Barska

Barska is currently operated out of Pomona, California, which is on the southern end of California. Their priority products all deal with sport optics, and they are considered to be one of the top brands that puts out rifle scopes on the market today. They actually have a global customer base. They have over 40 countries that they distribute their products too outside of the United States. They even offer products that can be individualized for their corporate customers if needed.

Nikon

Nikon is one of the more well known Sports Optics companies in the world. They have a variety of different products that they create, and they are well known in the hunting industry for both their cutting edge hunting optic rifle scopes. Some of their company strengths include their commitment to innovation, quality, and the performance of their products.