Best Rifle Scope Under 500 – Top 10 Reviews with Buyers’ Guide, FAQs & More

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As far as hunting is concerned, we can all agree that the scope for a rifle is as important as the rifle itself.

That’s why we will be reviewing the best rifle scopes under 500 dollars.

Whether you are a novice or a professional, this article will take you through their features, their weaknesses and their affordability in detail, moreover, we will tell you what you should ponder over before moving for a purchase.

Before that here are our top 3 picks!


Winner

This one is an all in one. It withstands numerous weather and target conditions. Its high light transmission, great performance and fast focus barely scratches the surface as it offers more.

Runner Up


This one also did not disappoint us. Within its low price, it provides you with everything you would want in a scope. We love everything it comes with.

Also Great


This one will meet your rugged demand and supports fast target acquisition. It is reliable and durable. Moreover, it’s accessible for both right and left handed shooters. 


Best Rifle Scope Under 500 – Top 10 Reviews


#1: Best Rifle Scope under $500 for Long Range – Vortex Optics Viper 6.5-20×50 Review


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The product holds a status of a premium scope for a rifle for a good reason. Its performance is versatile and offers multiple features. It effortlessly shrugs off recoil and provides a stable hold over your rifle while giving you a focused line of sight. 

Its BDC reticle is dead-held, making it convenient for shooting in various ranges and hunting. Furthermore, its eye piece provides eye relief while aiming along with easy and rapid change in magnification. 

We know most of you don’t use rifles underwater but considering that this scope is both water and fog proof, so why not give underwater shooting a shot?

This one is a must try for hunters, it will definitely not disappoint you.

Features of Vortex Optics Viper 6.5-20×50 

  • 30mm anodized main tube
  • Dead Hold BDC Reticle 
  • Parallax Turret
  • XD Lens 
  • Sealed O-ring
  • 6.5-20×50 magnifying power
  • Precision Force Spring System
  • MAG-Bar
  • Precision Glide Erector System
  • Tall Capped

Pros

  • No recoil
  • Rigid 
  • Solidly built
  • Shockproof
  • Fog proof
  • Waterproof
  • Mil-Dot reticle
  • Sharp imaging
  • Withstands harsh conditions
  • Second focal plane

Cons

  • Loosening of mount screws
  • Does not stay zeroed

Best Long Range Rifle Scope under $500

Vortex Viper 6.5-20×50 is the top rifle scope for long range under $500 because it has easy adjustments and ensures precision via quick focus eyepiece.


#2: Best Hunting Rifle Scope under $500 – Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm Review


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You will be pleased to know that whatever the light conditions are, bright or dark, this model will provide you with a clear and enhanced target image. Let it be a range or hunting out in the woods, this little guy will get the job done.  

What amazes us is its argon/krypton gas blend that reduces the diffusion of gasses in the scope and eliminates thermal shock entirely, giving you an enhanced quality of your target. Moreover, it gives up an incredible dim light performance.

Moreover, its turret system is very simple to operate and is consistent when used.

Features of Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm 

  • Magnification Range of 4.5-14x
  • 1 inch MainTube diameter
  • Ballistic Aiming System
  • 3:1 zoom ratio erector system
  • ¼ MOA Finger Click
  • Twin Bias Spring Erector System
  • Twilight Max Light Management System
  • Diamond Coating

Pros

  • Long Range
  • Durable
  • Clear light transmission
  • Great performance
  • Lightweight
  • Water proof
  • Shock proof
  • Fog proof
  • Abrasion resistant
  • Long eye relief
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Is not a CDS scope
  • Lacks precision

Best Hunting Rifle Scope under $500 

Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm is the top scope for hunting under $500 because it ensures durability, lifetime warranty and can be used for a long period of time. Besides, its reliability is intriguing.


#3: Best Scope under $500 for Beginners – Vortex Optics Diamondback Review


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This one is often referred to as a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing,’ which seems like a one liner used in Game of Thrones.

We will recommend this for both novice and professional shooters. It is one of the first focal plane models, hence, allowing you to look at the 1000 yards or beyond without distorting the target’s image quality.  

Moreover, its first focal plane aids in creating a more clear and bright image of the target. 

It is one of the amazing scopes under $500 available in the market, thus definitely falling within your price range

Features of Vortex Optics Diamondback

  • First focal plane
  • Glass-etched reticle
  • 4x zoom range
  • 4-16×44 magnifying power
  • Exposed tactical turrets
  • Side parallax knob
  • 30mm tube diameter
  • Strong o-ring seals
  • Nitrogen purging

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof
  • Fog proof
  • Well-built
  • Withstand the rifle’s recoil
  • Easy and quick reticle focusing
  • Precise shooting
  • well-mounted turrets
  • Durable
  • Long range scope
  • Retains its zero
  • Eye-friendly reticle

Cons

  • The  crosshairs are too fine.
  • Reticle isn’t much visible against certain backgrounds.

 Best Scope under $500 for Beginners

Vortex Diamondback is a great scope for beginners under $500 because of its amazing features, and eye-friendly reticle. It will prove to be a vital asset for you.


#4: Best Holographic Rifle Scope – EOTECH 512 Holographic Weapon Sight Scope Review


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This EOTECH 512 Holographic model has interested us. You’ll love how easy it is to mount it. And once the optic has mounted, it is unshakable. Besides, it is one of the best rifle scopes for 100 yards.

This product is simple yet comes up with versatility. The biggest downside to this optic is perhaps its low battery life and that it’s not compatible with night vision, but for a product under five hundred dollars, it’s worth it!

However, we took it out for a practice run and we were able to determine that its maximum range was a little over 300 yards, moreover, it’s perfect for move and shoot.

Features of EOTECH 512 Holographic Weapon Sight Scope

  • 68 MOA ring
  • 1 MOA dot reticle 
  • Windage Adjustment
  • Range Estimation 
  • Brightness Adjustment
  • Universal mount
  • Elevation Adjustment
  • AA Battery

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Military grade quality
  • Shatterproof
  • Replaceable batteries 
  • Waterproof
  • Great optics
  • Variable brightness settings
  • Shockproof
  • Lightweight
  • Precision 
  • Well-built

Cons

  • Low battery life 
  • No night vision compatibility

Best Holographic Rifle Scope 

EOTECH 512 is the top recommended holographic scope as it comes useful and handy at shot distances, and would be a great choice for you. You’ll love its unique design and quality.


#5: Best Scope for 3 Gun Competition under $500 – Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9X 40mm Review


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This Bushnell riflescope has the Multi-X reticle that is your commonplace duplex style cross hair, without any interruptions. Now and again, this is exactly what a hunter needs.

Unfortunately, this one does not come up with a parallax adjustment feature. To us that seemed to be a downside with this scope among numerous scopes we have examined and reviewed. 

However, this top-quality scope seems to be one of the most popular and economical one available in the market. There aren’t many scopes under $500 out there that provide so much.

Features of Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9X 40mm  

  • 3-9x magnifying power
  • 40mm objective diameter
  • SFP reticle
  • Dusk and Dawn Coating
  • Dry nitrogen filled
  • ¼ MOA fingertip windage
  • Fast-focus eyepiece 
  • One piece tube

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Ideal Range
  • Multi coated lenses
  • Multiple reticles 
  • Shockproof
  • HD clarity
  • Durable
  • Fog proof
  • Eye relief 
  • Lightweight 
  • Easy to mount

Cons

  • Does not have a parallax adjustment feature

Best Scope for 3 Gun Competition under $500 

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9X 40mm is a great scope for a 3 gun competition as it includes all the features required for big-game, and its magnification is well suited for shotguns, rifles, or pistols.


#6: Best Low Light Scope – Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm Review


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This product makes locating the target simple, as its dials are very accurate. Moreover, the extension is extremely simple to set up, and provides an extremely clear picture, and its duplex reticle makes aiming easy and draws your eye to the center without any hassle. 

Its lightweight and tough design just adds to its incredible performance in low light conditions.

The Leupold VX-3i is an ideal for hunters, whether you are a novice or a professional. It has a high quality that will go with your rifle and will provide you with a focal plane that aids you in eyeing your target.

Being one of the best rifle scopes under $500, this one really falls within one’s price range .

Features of Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm

  • 3.5-10x magnifying power
  • 40mm objective diameter 
  • ¼ MOA finger click adjustment
  • Twilight Max Light Management System
  • Diamondcoat 2
  • VX-3i line
  • Tactile power indicator

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof
  • Fog proof
  • Durable
  • High quality
  • Quality glass
  • Multiple models
  • Fast-focus
  • Zeroes easily
  • Great performance 
  • Durable
  • High light transmission

Cons

  • Small field of view
  • Turret cannot be reset

Best Low Light Scope

Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm is the top recommended low light scope because it offers high light transmission and won’t stop you in low or no light environments.


#7: Best Illuminated Mil-Dot Scope under $500 – Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24×50 (MIL) Rifle Scope Review


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The Athlon Optics Argos BTR is one of the great scopes under 5,00. Additionally, its advanced fully-multi coated lens that conveys a perfectly clear splendid picture in a low light environment. 

Furthermore, Its elite XPL covering shields your focal points from mud, dirt, and brutal weather conditions. Since its etched glass reticle makes it durable and makes it more difficult to break than the wired reticles.

Its quality has been praised by those who have purchased it. If you are looking for scopes under $500, you might want to consider this product and trust us, you’ll be happy with this choice.

Features of Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24 x 50 (MIL) 

  • Etched Glass Reticle
  • 6-24x magnifying power
  • First focal plane reticle
  • 50mm objective lens diameter 
  • Argon Purged
  • Dead-on tracking
  • Parallax adjustment
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Fully Multicoated
  • Windage and Elevation knobs

Pros

  • Durable
  • Better light transmission
  • Easily adjustable 
  • Well-built
  • Waterproof
  • Zeroes easily
  • Shockproof
  • Thermal Stability
  • Fog proof
  • Lightweight 
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Limited eye relief 
  • Lacks clarity and gets blurry at a long range 
  • Slight reduction of brightness at high focusing

Best Illuminated Mil-Dot Rifle Scope Under $500

The top illuminated mil-dot scope under $500 is Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24 x 50 because of its illuminated reticle. It’ll allow you to hunt in dusk or dawn with great ease. 


#8: Best Tactical Rifle Scope under $500 – Vortex Crossfire II Review


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This one with its fast focus eyepiece and fully multi coated lenses provides you with a longer  eye relief. Without a doubt, the quality and features of this one tends to encompass other scopes.

Its lens gives a picture center and parallax removal to the shooter while being anti-reflective, and gives you a bright and clear line of sight. Moreover, the dead-hold BDC reticle is useful for taking shots at different ranges, and in different weather conditions where holdover estimation might come as a concern.

Besides, its second focal plane ensures that even at high magnification the size of the reticle is retained. Once you go through the features it offers, you will see why for scopes under $500 it is of a high quality eye catching scope.

Features of Vortex Crossfire II 

  • V-brite reticle
  • Nitrogen purged
  • 1-4×24 magnifying power
  • Second Focal Plane
  • Dead-hold BDC reticle
  • O-ring sealed
  • Capped reset turrets 
  • Multi coated lens

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Fog proof
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Anti reflective
  • Strongly built
  • Great optics
  • Long eye relief
  • Changeable batteries

Cons

  • Has trouble focusing and zeroing on the target
  • Is not resistant to the shock of recoil

Best Tactical Rifle Scope under $500

Vortex Crossfire II is the top tactical scope because it gives a tactical edge and will allow you to take shots with great accuracy.


#9:  Best Durable Rifle Scope – Athlon Argos BTR 6-24×50 (MOA) Review


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If you are looking at rifle scopes for yourself, then we would recommend that you take a short stop here and take a look at this scope.

Being under five hundred bucks, this product is crafted with aircraft-grade aluminum that makes it durable and marks its strength as a light-weight scope. It’s advanced fully-multi coated lens will ensure a crystal clear image despite a dim environment.

The turrets are elastic. It moves effectively with no obstruction. Moreover, regardless of whether you need to go for target practice, hunting, pesting, plinking, or long range shooting you can do it using this scope.

The side center/parallax modification is effectively available while keeping a trim profile and permitting ideal mounting tallness.

As far as scopes go, this one will definitely fulfill the object you have in mind!

Features of Athlon Argos BTR 6-24 x 50 (MOA)

  • 6-24x magnifying power
  • First focal plane reticle 
  • Illuminated Reticle
  • Parallax adjustment
  • 30mm Single Piece Maintube
  • One piece tube construction 
  • Etched Glass Reticle
  • ¼ MOA finger click adjustment
  •  Fully Multi-coated

Pros

  • Strongly built
  • Durable
  • Waterproof
  • Argon purged
  • Spot on tracking
  • Parallax correction
  • Milling crosshair
  • Shock proof
  • Thermal stability 
  • Impact resistant 
  • Anti scratch

Cons

  • Windage and elevation is faulty
  • Blurry at high zoom
  • Mounting issues

 Best Durable Rifle Scope 

The top durable scope is Argos BTR 6-24 x 50 as it is built strongly and the multi coated lenses add to its durability.


#10: Best Scope for Optimal Image Focus under $500 – Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16×42 (MOA) Review


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This model is of high quality and comes well within your price range. It offers an array of features that enthusiastic hunters are sure to appreciate. 

Optically, these scopes hit the proverbial mark and provide you with an amazing resolution while eyeing your target. Moreover, its 4x zoom provides an adjustable magnification giving you a cutting edge in long range scoping.

Features of Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16×42 (MOA)

  • Dead-Hold BDC reticle 
  • 4-16x magnifying power 
  • 42mm lens diameter 
  • Second focal plane reticle 
  • Precision-Glide Erector System
  • XD Lens Elements 
  • ¼ MOA finger click 
  • Elevation and Windage adjustment 
  • Multi coated lenses 
  • Aircraft-grade aluminium

Pros

  • Well-built
  • Waterproof
  •  Hard anodized finish
  • Side focus
  • Great optics
  • Shockproof
  • Fog proof
  • Optimal image focus
  • Parallax removal 
  • Fast focus

Cons

  • Does not perform well in low light
  • Poor light transmission

Best Scope for Optimal Image Focus under $500

Vortex Diamondback HP 4-16×42 is a budget friendly scope for optimal image focus because its extra-low dispersion glass and quick focus eyepiece offer excellent color fidelity and resolution.


Buyers’ Guide

rifle scope under 500

What to expect from the rifle scopes under $500

Just because you are getting a scope for such a low cost, it does not mean it will not be of quality. Expect it to have all the features that will support your needs.

Spending up to five hundred dollars on a rifle scope guarantees that you get a strong quality one which has  execution that corresponds to your use of the rifle. However, you won’t have to face any issue to locate a top notch scope at this cost as we mentioned the great scopes in this article. 

You can expect an excellent degree at this value point. You can expect the five hundred dollars scopes to hold zero and assists you with aiming down your sights without any hassle. The scopes in this range will orbit around the medium to long-ranged lenses.

In conclusion, you can come across numerous scopes in this price range but don’t expect that they will all be the great scopes present in the market. Nevertheless, you will be able to find top notch scopes in this range which will satisfy you and conform to your needs.

First vs Second Focal Plane – Which one will be perfect for you?

There are two major focal planes, the first focal plane (FFP) and the second focal plane (SFP). 

The FFP is the change of reticle size as the magnification of the scope is also changed, the reticle is placed in front of the lens. It is fairly new to the world of rifle scopes and is gaining popularity day by day. 

On the other hand, in the SFP the reticle is placed behind the lens and when the magnification is changed the reticle’s size is the same. Moreover, the SFP is used 95% of the time. 

Both planes are useful in their own way and due to their differences from each other, they serve shooters differently. The important question that you should ask yourself is, ‘which one will be the perfect for me?’ Well, it definitely depends on your personal preference. 

SFP scopes work incredibly at close range and can also work for longer distances. Whereas, FFP extensions are not great for short ranges, but rather work immaculately when the shooting range is farther than five hundred yards. 

40mm Vs. 50mm Rifle Scope

The 40mm and 50mm does not have a significant difference between each other, yet their small differences account for making them poles apart. The preference of the scope is personal but before making your choice we would recommend looking over their distinct features first.

The 40mm rifle scope comes with a  lens of a 40mm diameter lens. Having a smaller diameter gives you a better image quality and bends the upcoming light more aggressively. The scope does not distort the image but unfortunately the edge quality is mediocre.

However, the 50mm rifle scope means that it consists of a lens of a 50mm diameter. Its magnification varies according to its model and make. The 50mm one has the tendency to have a larger exit pupil, a higher resolution and it collects more light in various weather conditions.

The 50mm is slightly more expensive as compared to the 40mm scope. The price difference between the two is not that much owing to the production quality differences and does not have any major design differences as well.

However, both fall within your budget, so don’t make your decision based on the price.

What to look for in a rifle scope up to five hundred dollars?

Many might not know this but there are alot of factors that need to be taken into account before purchasing scopes for your rifle. The scopes are classified into many types, so you have to choose the one that suits your needs. 

There are alot of factors to take in but some salient factors you should ponder upon are:

  • Magnification

It ensures that the lens used isn’t cheap and it allows easy light transmission and maximum brightness.

  • Focus/Parallax 

Allows the target to appear zeroed and clear.

  • Turrets and Reticles

Make sure they are easily adjustable and are helpful in positioning according to your needs.

  • Durability

Look for a sturdy scope as it ensures long term usage and reliability. Its durability will come as both economical and will save your from any side hustles.

  • Price

Make sure that the product you have in your mind falls within the allotted budget. So before even searching out the product, be sure in which range you want it.

FAQs

What is the best rifle scope under $300?

Following are the top rifle scopes under $300.

  • Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm – Overall Good
  • EOTECH 512 Holographic Weapon Sight – Top Holographic Scope
  • Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm – Great for Hunting 

What’s the best rifle scope on the market?

Some top rifle scopes on the market are:

  • Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm – Overall Good
  • Vortex Crossfire II – Great Eye Relief
  • EOTECH 512 Holographic Weapon Sight – Top Holographic Scope
  • Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm – Great for Hunting

What is the best long range rifle scope for the money?

Following are some great long range rifle scope for the money.

ProductMagnificationLens Coating
Vortex Viper 6.5-20xFull Multi-Coated
Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14xIon-assist coating
Vortex Diamondback4-16xFull Multi-Coated

What scope should I use for 1000 yards?

You should use Vortex Diamondback scope for 1000 yards. Moreover, it will give you a clear and bright image of your target.

Is a bigger objective lens better?

Yes, a bigger objective lens is obviously better. You will be able to shoot accurately at close range, but in low or no light environments your effective range will shorten. Moreover, at higher magnification, a larger objective lens will help you a lot. Whereas, a smaller one will be good for low magnification. 

What magnification do you need for 600 yards?

For 600 yards a 3-15x, 4-14x, 3-12x scope would do the job. Also, choose the one which offers easy adjustments and does not get blurry while zooming in.

Does parallax change with magnification?

Yes, the parallax changes with the change in magnification – it increases with magnification. However, if your parallax is not precisely corrected at higher magnification, there lies a great chance of error. For instance, on a scope with 6-20x magnifying power, the parallax would be easy to compensate for a 6x magnification setting.

Do I need parallax adjustment?

Yes, the parallax needs to be adjusted every time the distance changes. Certainly, you want both the reticle and the target to be on the same focal plane. However, if you are shooting at 100 or 250 yards, the parallax won’t be an issue. Although, for long ranges you need to adjust the parallax of your scope.

What magnification do you need for 300 yards?

You need 10X magnification for 300 yards.

For most of the hunting situations the average distance is 300 yards, and 10X magnification is enough for this distance. We would recommend not going for higher magnification as it’d result in a smaller field of view.

Final Thoughts

Our journey together for scoping out the top scopes has come to an end. We have come to the conclusion that the Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x40mm Riflescope is the clear winner!

The scope has been hailed by the majority of the customers who bought it. Moreover, of all the rifle scopes under $500 we examined this product shows high quality. Its simplicity and features conform to what attracts the general public.