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  • Writer's pictureRay Campbell

I Tested The Best Rifle Scopes Head-To-Head

Rifle scopes allow you to shoot further out and more accurately, but which one is perfect for your needs. I’m here to help you find out.

FYI, Prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.

1. Vortex Optics - Diamondback Tactical (6-24x50) First Focal Plane Riflescope

Top-rated: 2,544 ratings | 227 answered questions

Vortex Optics - Diamondback Tactical (6-24x50) First Focal Plane Riflescope

Highlight: Extra-low dispersion glass and fully multi-coated lenses transmit a crisp, bright sight picture.

Helpful review: "I am new to target shooting. I mounted this on a 30-06. Its my 3rd scope and I am glad I stopped with the expensive cheap ones after 1 mistake and went with a cheap price point but higher quality. It holds Zero great. The crosshairs are very find until you turn the magnifacation up. But by the time I am shooting far enough to need to clearly see the mil dots I can. Close up they arent really useful anyway as bullet drop is not an issue. I can finally get tight groups and repeatedly hit the same spot. I have used this only out to 300 yards so far but I am beyond happy with it. It feels like a scope I will grow into instead of out of." — Buddy Lindemon
Trending review: "Second Vortex scope I own and because of the value and diversity in scope offerings. Researched for 2 weeks online, went to sporting goods stores to see in-person, consulted with friends who own hundreds of guns, and this is what they recommended for my .17HMR (and long range gun). Needed the higher magnification for ground squirrels at a distance, wanted a quick focus, and a single focal plane because it’s not typically found at this price. Went with MOA Model after watching you-tube videos. 4 stars in “easy to use” because the magnification is hard to turn with quick shots. Glad I paid a little more and got the side focus to make up for the time it takes with the tight magnification." — Elk
Reassuring review: "This scope is a great value. The price is very low considering what you’re actually getting in return. First focal plane, crystal clear glass, easy to read exposed turrets, the list goes on. But the absolute best feature this scope has is its warranty. Vortex has the best warranty there is. It’s a lifetime warranty. No questions, just simple repair or replace. They do not mess around. Great value for the money!" — David Gene Lewis
Most-discussed review: "I own several other scopes (Leupold) that are much more expensive; however, I am very pleased with the clarity of the optics on this scope and for the price point it can not be matched. The FFP and reticle are much more than I expected from a scope at this price point. I would recommend this scope to anyone from long range target acquisition or hunting." — Cindy
Favorite review: "Vortex makes outstanding scopes at a great price. I own a lot of Vortex products and I have never been disappointed. So I thought I would give this low cost tactical scope a try. Sighting the scope in it was only 2 clicks low and two click to the left from zero at 100 yards when I mounted in on my rifle. I used Vortex 30mm rings to mount this scope on my rifle. They worked perfectly. If you want a low cost tactical scope 6-24X50 with a lifetime warranty, then this Vortex Diamondback Tactical first focal plane scope is the one to buy." — James Dilport
Updated review: "Bought the 4-16x44 mil for my m10 ashbury precision .308 and absolutely love it! Everything works like it’s supposed to. My only complaint would be there’s no zero stop on this model but the price and quality cannot be matched by any other ffp optic off similar specs. When I get my next rifle done I will go for the 50mm version. This scope has made me a vortex believer, I will no longer be purchasing Leupold optic’s. Thanks vortex! My next purchase will be the new 5-25x56 strike Eagle if it ever goes on sale!!!" — Austin Nelson

Get it from Amazon now: $399.99 & FREE Returns


2. Vortex Optics - Strike Eagle Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

Top-rated: 2,916 ratings | 334 answered questions

Vortex Optics - Strike Eagle Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

Highlight: The new illuminated BDC3 reticle focuses the shooter's eye to the target faster. Holdovers allow for immediate use out to 650 yards for targets of known distance.

Helpful review: "I ordered this scope for my new Daniel Defense M4V11 AR15. The main reason I picked this as one of my scopes is because it goes down to 1x power and you can use it out to at least 100 yards which is about what I normally shoot while hunting and target practicing. The finish is awesome and the illuminated tree drop is awesome as well. Another big thing for me is that Vortex has an awesome warranty that is hard to beat. You can not go wrong with this awesome scope. Buy with confidence and don't look back. I highly recommend giving this scope a shot!" — AKRC Designs
Trending review: "It demonstrates that tracks effectively for long range. Does the Vortex Strike Eagle 3-18x44mm does the mile? Surely seems it will from the tracking and accuracy support data. Getting to zero and out to distance is rewarding with the constrains of budget Strike Eagle 3-18x44mm. This 3-18 magnification is when less is more. The difference between 50mm and 44mm objective is not human noticeably. Over $1,000.00 or $2,000.00 scope makes the mile easier, but the reward is in the challenge of advancing through five-phases of a mile project with self-imposed constrains. The rifle action is $350.00 and a special wooden stock is $250.00. Perhaps would prefer scope with less chromatic-aberration and a zero stop option instead of zero reset, but the price is right. Very special is the how accessible and ease to communicate with the Vortex team to ask questions and support." — Sam
Reassuring review: "The Vortex Scope is perfect, and I'm happy to have one finally. However, whoever packaged this scope in the shipping box saw fit to just include one sheet of brown paper beneath the manufacturer's box, and this was supposed to be sufficient to cushion a $500 scope from damage. This scope could have been severely damaged due to it's lack of cushioning materials, and I consider myself lucky it was not. PLEASE in the future, take great care to make sure a precision instrument of this kind is very well protected on all sides by foam, bubble wrap, etc." — Robert W.
Most-discussed review: "Optic is in great shape, and performs as expected. Can't beat vortex for a low price high quality optic. Not sure the BDC will match up to my 62gr fmj, but i will never push 600yds with it. Eye cup is deep enough to catch water if it's raining, battery cap is difficult to get off the first time, and illuminated reticule is not the brightest, but it is clear, easy to mount, easy to adjust, and durable. Batteries only required if you want the reticule illuminated, came with 2 batteries. Requires 30mm scope rings, not included. Box was bigger than my other vortex optics boxes." — J. Roberts
Favorite review: "Super buy on a great piece of gear. Initial quality appears to compare to much higher priced scopes. Nice, incredibly bright reticle. Should be able to do double duty (with the 1X setting) of a reflex sight and 6 power scope. Eye relief is adequate, though I wouldn't mind another inch or so. Glass is super clear, hard to tell you're looking through anything at all. I need about a year of use to properly evaluate this but I really think this one is a keeper. Vortex has definitely carved a place in a crowded market with affordable quality products like this one. Next Vortex purchase for me will be a longer range, higher power piece of tactical glass." — BigR
Updated review: "This is probably the best scope you can get for less than $350! I have a Nikon M-223, and I think the Strike Eagle optics are just as clear, with the added benefit of an illuminated reticle. It's great for short to medium range. It's also pretty compact compared to other rifle scopes I love it so much, I bought an another one for my second AR-15! I installed the first one on my 50 cal. Beowulf, and it held strong, even after 100 rounds of significant recoil! I bought the Vortex cantilever mounting scope to go with it, which I strongly recommend! All in all, an excellent scope for a bargain of a price!!" — Marky Mark

Get it from Amazon now: $499.00 & FREE Returns


3. Sightmark Wraith - HD (4-32x50) Digital Night Vision Riflescope

Top-rated: 1,269 ratings | 240 answered questions

Sightmark Wraith - HD (4-32x50) Digital Night Vision Riflescope

Highlight: 5 weapon profiles to save zeroes for different firearms and calibers.

Helpful review: "Simple and easy to use and sight in. Most NV scopes aren't waterproof and the ones I found at this price point and even twice as much weren't worth owning. Bought two 64 gig cards and a remote power power source for it as well. Remote power source will run this scope for over 14 hours. put an extra IR light on gun one for broad spectrum sighting and another for focused beam for 400+ yd. viewing. Directions are somewhat lacking but with some experiments I had it working perfectly. This is a no nonsense NV scope for those of us who use them for work and play (and don't have all the features that the Utube warriors seem to think they need). I am a professional hunter, not a techno geek. I have one on an AR10 in 6.5 Creedmoor and another on a 7.62x51 AR10 and am buying another now for a 6.8 SPC carbine. I believe this is the best entry level NV scope you can buy and at $500 it blows the competition out of the water." — Walt
Trending review: "I have used just about every night vision scope on the market including digital and analog. Due to this being a digital scope you will need an external IR light, good news though. The scope comes with a very powerful IR illuminator which is surprising for a company to include an illuminator that is worth while. While there is currently no way to record sounds you do have the ability to record video. With amazing HD quality I was very happy to add my own sounds to the video using a voice recorder attached to my belt. While zeroing my scope I found it extremely easy to zero on multiple guns saving to one of the 5 profiles and found they returned to zero with out moving. After using the competition and being very dissatisfied I am happy to find such a good product for the right price." — Scott Massey
Reassuring review: "I purchased this unit after having a bad experience with a Wanney E50 II Plus, this scope has functioned as described so far. I finally made it out to the range and under harsh conditions I was able to sight it in at 50 yards with 2 shots. Moving out to 100 yards was a little challenging as the X Zeroing is larger than the bullseye. So it took a few extra rounds to guess where to align it. With that being said, I'm dead center bullseye at 100 yards shooting an AR15 off of sand bags in the rain and wind. I'm happy so far. At night this scope is crisp and has good detail, not like the other one I purchased, hands down this scope is better. With not many bells and whistles on it, I noted no lockups, nor did I have to force shutdown so far. I'm excited to hunt it after deer season. If your in the market like I was and reading reviews which most times go each way, good and bad, I'm telling you I like this scope very much so far. If it holds zero which I will find out soon, this one is the way to go. Only bad note is that it burns battery's quick, so I purchased a power bank from Sight Mark to mount it on my rail. Hope that helps." — Ryan Speigle
Most-discussed review: "So this this is my first adventure into the night vision world. And so far, it’s been freaking AWESOME. A couple of things I really like about it... 1 the ability to use in night and day situations. For the night you have white and green which is nice because I’m not to fond of using green. It seems to mess with my eyes more than the white. The day option is color, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be color or black and white. Something else that I liked was the fact that you can record ur shoot/hunt to an SD card. The zoom is pretty strong on this at 4-32x. It stays pretty clear even when zoomed all the way in. Obviously close targets get grainy if your zoomed in too tight. The top of the scope has a pic rail for the IR light which is a nice placement to get your light out further. The IR light it comes with is decent out to 300ish yards. If you plan on going out further than that you may want to upgrade to a bigger light. I haven’t needed to do that yet. So what do I see as cons on this scope? Well the fact that I can’t stream to my phone is one thing I wish it had. But at this price point I definitely can’t complain, since it has the SD card. I know some people don’t like the fact that it goes back to the day setting once it’s shut down but I honestly don’t feel that’s is an issue. The battery life has been solid for me. It’s clear, VERY easy to zero in, and has super easy to use display settings. Multiple reticles, colors and can even be set up for multiple weapons. This thing is a very affordable night vision scope that I feel should probably cost more than it does. Nice work Sightmark." — Sgt Shredd
Favorite review: "I have had the Wraith for a few months now. I wanted to get a full realm of uses before reviewing. After all of the time spent behind the scope, I have to say it exceeded my expectations. For the price point, you cannot get a better scope. Not to knock other brands, but this is the best digital night vision/day time scope I have used. The battery life is good. I can usually get about 6 hours on Energizer Lithiums. If you are shooting past 200 yards, upgrade your IR. But that is the same for any DNV. My only con I saw was no sound recording with video. No big deal for me. I would like to upgrade to a QD mount, which will happen eventually. Overall the Wraith is a solid scope with crystal clear images. The video recording does not do the scope justice. Well worth your money." — Christopher Strong
Updated review: "Just ordered this scope and have not received it but rated it a 5 star --WHY? Last year I had a Sightmark Photon RT and the something went wrong with the on/off button. Called Sightmark and they walked me through sending it back -- I paid shipping --- in a few days I received a brand new Sightmark Photon RT in the mail. They have the best customer service and I will buy Sightmark products from now own. It rare to find a company that stands behind its product like this. That's why all the reviews are talking about how reliable it is--- Sightmark knows its good and that's why they stand behind it. Im 62 and I will be buying their products as long as I can----and that's why I can buy this and know its a "5 STAR" product even before I receive it." — John H.

Get it from Amazon now: $499.97 & FREE Returns


4. Burris - Fullfield II Hunting Scope

Top-rated: 1,116 ratings | 158 answered questions

Burris - Fullfield II Hunting Scope

Highlight: The simple, integrated eyepiece and power ring has no-slip grip for quick adjustment.

Helpful review: "Let me start off by saying, this is a awesome scope, very clear and bright. I was in the market for a score for my AR-15, since I decided to start doing some varmint hunting. I did my research for about a good solid two weeks before I decided to purchase a Burris scope. I originally had a Vortex red dot, which don't get me wrong they are cool and all, but only good for up to 50-75 yards if that. Since I was getting into varmint hunting, I wanted something good but not cheap. I looked at them all, Vortex, Leupold, Bushnell, UTG, etc... and finally decided on Burris. Just reading the reviews on Amazon along with other sites, they are highly recommended scopes. Also you can't beat the "forever lifetime warranty" even though a lot of brands offer this kind of warranty, however they all seem to have stricter regulations for the warranty. I ended up going with the 4.5-14x42mm Price range was a big concern, since I'm new to the sport and I knew I had