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This price range has quite the variety, but where do you put your money?
Is it with a low budget brand? Is there a world-name brand in this price range?
We can answer all of your questions with our line-up of the best rifle scopes priced below $200.
Put your seat-belt on because you're in for a roller coaster ride of variety!
Top 8 Rifle Scopes Less Than $200 In 2023
- Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12X40mm
- Vortex Crossfire II 4-12X44mm Deadhold BDC MOA
- Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9X40mm
- Primary Arms Classic 4-16x44
- Mueller 4.5-14-40 AO APV
- Burris Fullfield II 3-9X40mm
- Hawke Vantage 3-9x40 AO
- Athlon Neos 4-12x40 Center X
Best Affordable Rifle Scopes Under $200
If you're shopping in this price range, we can tell you that you've got a decent hunk of cash for a great scope. You can save as much moolah as you can with a cost-conscious brand like Burris or Weaver, or you can maximize value with brands like Leupold, Nikon, and Vortex Optics.
Beginner and intermediate hunters will definitely find the perfect rifle scope for 200 bucks. You just need to narrow down on what does it for you. Is it further reach, a ballistic reticle, or crystal-clear glass? Do you need an affordable scope for your AR-15 or MSR? Whatever it is, one of these rifle scopes is bound to please. You just need a pro on your side helping you to filter out the golden nuggets from the junk. Good news: we're your pro - you're welcome!
|Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12X40||CHECK PRICE|
|Vortex Crossfire II 4-12X44 Deadhold BDC MOA||CHECK PRICE|
|Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9X40||CHECK PRICE|
|Primary Arms Classic 4-16x44||CHECK PRICE|
|Mueller 4.5-14-40 AO APV||CHECK PRICE|
|Burris Fullfield II 3-9X40||CHECK PRICE|
|Hawke Vantage 3-9x40 AO||CHECK PRICE|
|Athlon Neos 4-12x40 Center X||CHECK PRICE|
The 8 Best Rifle Scopes Under $200
1. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12X40
How do you top a brand that literally exudes quality? You can't. So, you get on their side and check out what they have to offer you. You will have a difficult time finding a decent hunter that doesn't love Vortex. If you do, they ain't no hunter.
While this scope may be basic as far as premium features go, it's premium in every way with the features it does have. Expect nothing but the best when it comes to its fully multi-coated optics, single-piece tube body, and zero reset turrets.
This thing is impervious to magnum recoil, and it's practically indestructible, so feel free to expose it to all sorts of abuse. Really though, don't. Just do what you intend to do with it, nothing more, nothing less. There's no need to throw it into a pond just because you can, come on now!
2. Vortex Crossfire II 4-12X44 Deadhold BDC MOA
Vortex just does things best. It's evident by the happy masses and the quality rifle scopes they pump out. If you're surprised to see a Vortex land in twice in the top reviews, then you need to check them out right now. There's a reason why they practically make almost every top pick in ours and every other's best pick lists.
The Crossfire II series has quite the variety when it comes to selecting a model. But, this one has just the right amount of style to impress the hunting crowd. Maybe it's because of its high power range, the Dead-Hold BDC reticle, or the indestructible single-piece tube body. Who can say?
It might even be because of its weatherproof and shockproof assembly or the aircraft-grade aluminum construction. Point made. It's Vortex's over-all quality they put into their scopes!
3. Leupold VX-1 3-9X40
It's official. The Leupold VX1 and VX2 lines have been discontinued. What's there to replace them? The VX Freedom line. They're an upgrade to the VX-2, but they're still priced just right. When budget is somewhat tight, it could mean everything to a hunter and shooter to still afford Leupold quality. But, what does the VX-Freedom 3-9x40 have to offer? Let's find out.
- Twilight Light Management System
- Finger click turrets
- Mushy turrets
Straight out of the horse's mouth, the Freedom line is supposed to have upgraded lens coatings and improved adjustments. There's also supposed to be some cosmetic changes too. Without hashing through the nitty gritty of what they are, let's look at what one of the cheapest Freedom scopes does offer.
This scope has a good 3-9x40 platform for a hunter. It has Leupold's simple Duplex reticle in the second focal plane. Turrets are capped, are in 1/4 MOA clicks, and the 1" tube offers 60 MOA adjustment travel for both windage and elevation. The turrets are also finger adjustable which is an excellent feature on a cheap scope. No tools, no stress, no fuss.
But, there has been more than one mention about mushy turrets. They're not as crisp as most users would like, and this might affect accurate dialing action at the range or in the field.
It's super compact in design weighing in at 12 ounces and 12.4" in length. Mount it to your scouting and hunting rifle and you'll be grateful it weighs barely anything after a day of stalking, quartering, and hauling.
It seems the Freedom line of scopes are a welcome addition to the Leupold family. New or old, Leupold does well.
4. Primary Arms Classic 4-16x44
Primary Arms is well known in providing decked-out optics with more than what they should have for the price. The Classic Series of scopes are aimed towards cost-conscious buyers who want more bang for their buck.
- Illuminated reticle
- Mil-dot reticle
- Locking turrets
- Zero reset
- Defective models
There’s no getting around the fact that some defective models will make it past quality control. Regardless, Primary Arms stands by their products and warranties the scope for a year. However, many buyers experience no issues whatsoever.
This is an entry-level scope, but its features suggest otherwise. To start off with, it has high magnification that’s excellent for mid to long-range use. The mil-dot reticle is set in the second focal plane, so you can use it to range at max power. It’s also illuminated, and the brightness turret has 12 settings found on top of the eyepiece. It has a side focus, 44 mm aperture, and is fog and water resistant.
To make those long-range shots, the 30 mm tube offers wide adjustment travel of 30 MOA in elevation and 30 MOA in windage. Turrets are finger adjustable, exposed, resettable to zero, and offer fine ¼ MOA adjustments. Bonus feature: the turrets also lock when you push them all the way in!
It’s kind of on the heavy end of the scale, weighing in at 23.5 oz, but it does have all these extra features to cater to. The weight may be worth it for the high-end features it offers at this price point.
5. Mueller APV 4.5-14X40 AO
Looking for a cheap scope to mount to your varmint rifle? The Mueller APV is a viable option that will put your crosshairs on that pesky gopher. When you’re spending less than $150 bucks for AO, ruggedness, and zero retention, you’ve got value in a cheap buy.
- High magnification
- Build quality issues
For a mass-produced scope built this cheaply, there will be some duds. Don’t worry about it. Mueller Optics takes care of it with a limited lifetime warranty. But there are a few things to know to avoid having to send it in.
The scope is advertised as both a rimfire and big game scope. While you may want to put it on a 30-06 Spfd, it’s really better suited to .223 Rem and rimfire rifles. Reticle cant and loose objective assemblies have been the result with kicker loads. It should be aimed towards the varmint hunter, and in that application, it performs excellently.
It’s great for close-range hunting since it has the tried-and-true duplex reticle - sorry, no bullet drop compensation here. But to help you achieve max clarity at distance if you’re confident in your shots is an adjustable objective (AO). With FMC coatings, decent ¼ MOA turrets, and a completely water and fogproof build, the Mueller APV offers good performance. At the lowest price point possible from a scope of this caliber, it’s a value buy.
6. Burris Fullfield II 3-9X40
Strong. Reliable. No fuss. That's what the Burris Fullfield II is all about. At below $200, this scope is about as fair as it can get for the price.
If you're sick and tired of losing your focus every time you switch up the power, forget about it. The Fullfield II uses an integrative system that allows the eyepiece and the power range to be controlled in one movement. With a fast focus eyepiece, you'll be in control of your clarity with every single movement you make on the scope.
Its durability is something of note with its double spring tension assembly. It's even got HiLume multi-coated optics to ensure you're seeing crystal-clear images every time you put face to scope. There's a pattern here. "Every" shot you take, "every" distance you range, you'll have quality "every" time you depend on the Fullfield. It seems that "every" penny is going to be well-spent here!
7. Hawke Vantage 3-9X40 AO
The Vantage scope from Hawke is a scope that’s worth buying every time, every day. This is a scope that performs, and it performs because it has quality.
The Vantage may be an immediate strikeout for some buyers as it incorporates ¼ MOA turrets and a mil-dot reticle. It’s not a complete deal breaker if you know your MOA and MIL stuff, but it’s not your long-range, beyond the pale type of scope anyway.
This is a great scope for varmint hunting as it has more than enough magnification to get it done. Glass quality is good if you consider edge-to-edge clarity at max power good. You’re going to need to get to max power since the mil-dot reticle is in the rear focal plane.
While it’s perfect for rimfire rifles, it’s absolutely at home on bigger cartridge rifles used for hog hunting or game. It won’t weigh you down because it has reasonable optical specs and a 17-ounce weight.
You can count on the Vantage pulling through to clear the ranch of pests or fill your tag in the worst weather since it’s waterproof and fogproof. It also doesn’t matter if you’re plinking at 25 yards or taking down coyotes at 150 yards. The AO allows you to get parallax free and sharp views every time – just don’t forget to use it.
For a scope with dependable performance that is sure to hold zero regardless of what you’re shooting, this is the kind of $200 buy that’s worth it.
8. Athlon Neos 4-12x40 Center X
Athlon is the type of brand that people turn to for quality and reasonable price points. The most affordable scope series offered by the well-known manufacturer is the Neos. For many things hunting and target shooting, the 4-12x configuration is King.
- All-purpose 4-12x
- 3 reticle options
- Side focus
- Great optics
- Short eye relief
The Neos is available with three different reticle options, the Center X, BDC 500 IR, and BDC 22 Rimfire. They’re all great, but if you’re taking down game where you don’t need a complex reticle, the Center X will get it done.
One of the most talked-about features of the budget Neos series is its surprising optical quality. Athlon dished out the scope with wide-band FMC coatings and many have praised its ability to keep up at max 12x magnification to see groupings at 100 yards.
The side focus can be focused all the way down to 10 yards and the SFP reticle remains highly visible in lowlight conditions and throughout the entire magnification range. True to hunter style, the ¼ MOA turrets are capped. If you happen to need those long-range shots to compensate for drop, dial it in and you’ll likely have plenty with the 60 MOA of travel.
It has approximately 3” of eye relief. That could be considered short especially for those who like big, forgiving eye boxes or if you have a rifle with a lot of kick. Honestly though, it’s comparable to a lot of scopes in its price range.
The Athlon Neos is ready for the hunt having been shock, fog, and water tested to handle the conditions of a cold, wet season.
What to Look for in a Rifle Scope in this Price Range?
There's quite a lot more quality in your favor when you up the ante with an extra hundred bucks. You're just starting to see the kind of premium features that could change your hunting game in this price range. But, it's a given that you must require absolute, solid quality out of the fundamental features of a rifle scope. You want durability, better glass, and brand reputation behind your buy. Here's how you find that!
Glass & Coatings
Overall, most scopes in this price range will have non-ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass. While there is no definitive standard for what goes into a FMC (Fully Multi-Coated) formula, it does ensure multiple layers on all air-to-glass surfaces for anti-reflective benefits to better light transmission.
|Vortex Crossfire II||Non-ED||FMC|
|Primary Arms Classic||Non-ED||FMC|
|Burris Fullfield II||Non-ED||FMC|
Magnification & Objective Lens (Configuration)
On average, you’ll see a variety of scope configurations for under $200. Anything from an LPVO to long-range scopes, the market has it. However, given the typical optical quality at this price point, the all-purpose 3-9x and 4-12x configurations deliver great performance for the money.
Even at this price point, some scopes with over 10x magnification will offer a side focus or an adjustable objective for parallax correction/focusing.
|Vortex Diamondback||4-12x||40 mm||Fixed 100 yards|
|Vortex Crossfire II||4-12x||44 mm||Fixed 100 yards|
|Leupold VX-Freedom||3-9x||40 mm||Fixed 150 yards|
|Primary Arms Classic||4-16x||44 mm||Side focus|
|Mueller APV||4.5-14x||40 mm||AO|
|Burris Fullfield II||3-9x||40 mm||Fixed 100 yards|
|Hawke Advantage||3-9x||40 mm||AO|
|Athlon Neos||4-12x||40 mm||Side focus|
Reticles & Adjustments
In general, the reticles are going to vary but you will find an abundance of duplex style reticles in the second focal plane (SFP). Reticles in the first focal plane (FFP) can cost more, and it really depends on your application and comfort zone in what type of reticle is preferred.
Some scopes may offer illumination. Putting aside all other factors, you can also improve your precision with a scope that has ¼ MOA (0.25 MOA) adjustments.
|Product||Reticle||Focal Plane||Adjustment Value|
|Vortex Diamondback||BDC||SFP||0.25 MOA|
|Vortex Crossfire II||Dead-Hold BDC||SFP||0.25 MOA|
|Leupold VX-Freedom||Reticle choices available||SFP||0.25 MOA|
|Primary Arms Classic||Mil-dot||SFP||0.25 MOA|
|Mueller APV||Duplex||SFP||0.25 MOA|
|Burris Fullfield II||Plex, Ballistic Plex||SFP||0.25 MOA|
|Hawke Advantage||Mil-dot||SFP||0.25 MOA|
|Athlon Neos||Reticle choices available||SFP||0.25 MOA|
Nearly every manufacturer these days are enforcing good durability practices by testing their products and implementing quality control measures. The most important factor is that the scope must hold zero. Secondly, it should be fog and waterproof, meaning, O-ring sealed and gas purged.
Other factors to consider is overall bulk. How much will it add to your rifle? For the money, any included accessories might not be worth using, so you’ll need to know the tube size to buy quality mounting rings or a cantilever mount.
|Vortex Diamondback||12”||14.6 oz||1 inch||Yes||Yes|
|Vortex Crossfire II||13.1”||17.2 oz||1 inch||Yes||Yes|
|Leupold VX-Freedom||12.4”||12.2 oz||1 inch||Yes||Yes|
|Primary Arms Classic||14.3”||23.5 oz||30 mm||Yes||Yes|
|Mueller APV||13.75”||17.5 oz||30 mm||Yes||Yes|
|Burris Fullfield II||12.2”||13 oz||1 inch||Yes||Yes|
|Hawke Advantage||12.7”||17 oz||1 inch||Yes||Yes|
|Athlon Neos||12.56”||18.1 oz||1 inch||Yes||Yes|
Warranties vary between manufacturers and sometimes between scopes from the same manufacturer. There is coverage, like Vortex’s VIP Warranty, that applies to all optics and is what I call industry-leading coverage. However, many scopes in this price range will offer 30-day money-back guarantees.
|Vortex Diamondback||VIP Warranty|
|Vortex Crossfire II||VIP Warranty|
|Leupold VX-Freedom||Lifetime Guarantee|
|Primary Arms Classic||Lifetime Warranty|
|Mueller APV||Limited Lifetime|
|Burris Fullfield II||Forever Warranty|
|Hawke Advantage||Lifetime Warranty|
|Athlon Neos||Lifetime Warranty|
Be Brand Specific!
Now is the time that you'd start looking at what brand does it best. You want to put your money behind a brand that you can trust and be loyal to. That extra hundred bucks can set the stage for your hunting success. So, who is it? Is it Leupold, Vortex, Nikon, or another? Compare them and put them head to head to see who remains standing. Being brand specific might get you the best value out of your buy!