Purchasing a scope for your muzzleloader can be one of the most important improvements you can make to it. Hunters find that they can shoot tighter groups as well as have more success when using a weapon with a scope. Scopes work well when compared to the simple mechanical sights being used alone. This is especially true when hunting at dawn or dusk when light levels are low. Scopes will also help less experienced hunters until they’ve had more practice shooting.
Regardless of one’s age or eyesight, a scope can help your shot and make your hunting experience more enjoyable, but trying to choose the right scope for your weapon can feel overwhelming. There are a lot of different types of scopes available for muzzleloaders, and each one will have specific features designed to improve your shot. With a little knowledge on the subject, you’ll be able to make a confident selection.
What to Look for When Buying a Muzzleloader Rifle Scope
The first feature you want to take note of is the eye relief. You’ll need at least three inches to avoid eyebrow knocks and cuts from heavy loads. If the stock or eye relief is too short, you won’t have a very pleasant shooting experience. You will also want to look for one with a fixed or low power. One’s with magnification levels of 4X to 6X are average for a muzzleloader, although anything from 3X to 9X works nicely for all-purpose hunting. The 6X to 12X scopes are ideal for long range shooting. Take into consideration how far you’ll be shooting. Those in wide open areas will need long distance visibility while anyone hunting in the woods will never need a visual distance of more than 150 yards.
Your budget will be a big determining factor when deciding exactly which scope to purchase. Cheaper versions often fail, and expensive ones can include more features than you will actually use. The general rule of thumb when budgeting for a scope is that it should cost about half of what your muzzleloader did. This gives you a high quality scope that matches the rifle’s level of quality. Those that come with the mounting brackets are also an exceptional deal.
When shopping for a muzzleloader scope you will come across many terms and descriptions that you may not understand. Becoming familiar with them will allow you to pick out the perfect scope for your needs. The following is a list of some of the most commonly used terms and what they refer to.
- The front lens gathers light. Its size is what gives the scope its field of view.
- One inch, or 30mm, is considered the standard tube size. The rings have to match the body’s diameter.
- Elevation and windage are adjusted by turrets, knobs, a flat blade screw driver, or your finger pressure. Those where one click makes a ¼ inch change in impact at 100 yards are standard.
- Larger scopes may include a parallax adjustment while single power scopes have no adjustments.
- You’ll find the eye piece and magnification adjustment at the rear of the scope as well as a possible focus knob.
- The reticle will vary among scopes. It can be mil dots, a simple cross hair, or a set of smaller lines with a cross hair that compensates for bullet drop. Scopes with batteries light up.
- Variable power lets you adjust your given power. 3X9X40 is standard.
- Lens coatings will repel water and block several different wavelengths.
- A charged scope refers to how it is filled with nitrogen gas to keep the moisture out.
The Traditions Performance Firearms Muzzleloader Hunter Series Scope
This scope is a 3-9X40 with a circle reticle and a matte black finish. The Multi-coated crystal lenses will give you increased clarity, especially in conditions with low light levels. The compact design is nitrogen filled, and it is shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof. It weighs 7.2 ounces and measures 14.8 by 3.5 by 3.5 inches. Overall, it is a very nice piece at an affordable price point.
Online reviews are favorable stating that this scope has a smooth elevation and wind age in addition to clear optics. Some were disappointed that it doesn’t come with the necessary mounting rings, but were still pleased with its performance. It is priced on the low side, and it is a practical scope with few features. That being said, it is a good value when compared to other similar designs in this price range.
The Thompson/Center Universal Muzzleloader Scope and Mount Kit
This rifle scope from Thompson/Center Arms comes with a four inch eye relief and a 36 to 12 feet field of view at 100 yards. Each shot is more accurate due to your ability to dial in on the target. The fully coated lenses offer superior clarity and are fog proof and waterproof. This makes it an ideal scope in challenging circumstances. It comes with a one inch tube and measures 12 ¼ inches long. It weighs in at 15 ½ ounces. The scope mounts and all screws are included, and they fit a weaver style base.
Online reviews describe this muzzleloader scope as very nice with high clarity. At a median price point they find it to be a fully functional scope that doesn’t break their budget. Another top notch product by Thomas Center Products, this scope mounts easily.
Truglo Tru-Brite Xtreme 3-12X44 Muzzleloader Scope
Available for a higher price point, the Tru-Brite Xtreme 3-12×44 offers many more features than the previously listed scopes. It comes with a high resolution and ultra-high contrast optical design. The illuminated, dual color reticle gives you a choice of green or red for a quicker target acquisition when lighting conditions are low. The reticle is easily calibrated with several bullet/powder combinations and offers aiming points out as far as 300 yards. It is nitrogen filled as well as fog-proof and waterproof.
The multi-coatings will give you maximum clarity, brightness, and contrast in the worst lighting conditions. You’ll find it has a rubber coated eye piece with speed focus, and a flip up, see thru lens cap. The large diameter adjustment drums are low profile, and there are elevation and windage adjustments with leaf springs. The tube is one piece constructed of aircraft quality aluminum. The entire scope has a textured, durable, matte finish that is non-reflective. It requires a 3V CR2032 lithium battery which is included, and it has a lifetime limited warranty.
Now that you have become familiar with some of the terms used to describe a muzzleloader rifle scope, you should be able to better understand their descriptions. This will allow you to find the best one for your rifle. If you are looking for a very basic, simple to use scope, the Traditions Performance Firearms Muzzleloader Hunter Series Scope will suit your needs perfectly. It’s a good scope at an affordable price. The Thompson/Center Universal Muzzleloader Scope is a nice middle of the road option while the Truglo Tru-Brite Xtreme 3-12X44 Muzzleloader Scope will give you plenty of features for a somewhat larger investment.