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If you think you have to give up world-class brands to spend blue-collar prices on a rifle scope, then you’d be wrong.
Let’s face it, there are just some hunters that will never even bat an eyelid at a rifle scope under $300 because of this false reason.
Too bad for them, they don’t know what they’re missing out on.
QUICK LIST: 5 Best Rifle Scopes Under $300 In 2019
- Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12X40
- Primary Arms 4-14X44
- Redfield Revolution TAC-MOA 3-9X40
- Leupold Rifleman 4-12X40
- Weaver 40/44 Series 6.5-20X44 AO
Best Low Budget Hunting Scopes Under $300
If you don’t have more than a few hundred bucks in your pocket, there’s good news. The rifle scopes in this low budget category cater to a whole range of shooters from highly-reputable brands. You might want to gift a scope to your entry level son or perhaps a friend new to guns and optics.
The neat thing about the variety of low budget scopes out there is that even if you’re a seasoned hunter and you’re just looking for a good deal – the low budget market caters to you too. In deciding what scopes made the top 5, we looked at quite a few things: quality of lens coatings, level of difficulty to focus and sight in, ability to hold zero, and of course, cost.
Low budget rifle scopes are no-fuss, practical, and easy to use devices that deserve a spot on your “must buy” list.
|Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12X40||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Primary Arms 4-14X44||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Redfield Revolution TAC-MOA 3-9X40||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Leupold Rifleman 4-12X40||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Weaver 40/44 Series 6.5-20X44 AO||VIEW ON AMAZON|
Leupold VX-Freedom 4-12X40
- Leupold Model #174665: VX-Freedom 4-12x40mm with Tri-MOA reticle and Matte finish.
- 100% Waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof.
- Made with 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum and punisher tested to a lifetime of performance even under harshest recoil.
Are you disappointed to have seen the VX-1 and VX-2 series of scopes shoved out the door? Don’t be. To replace the discontinued Leupold scopes is the VX-Freedom series that are now being lauded as the best entry-level line of optics to the Leupold shelves. One of the new Freedom scopes is the 4-12×40 model that has nothing but raving reviews about it.
- Tri-MOA reticle
- 80 MOA adjustment travel
- Finger click turrets
- Mushy turrets
The Freedom 4-12x scope is making a lot of shooters happy. Looking for the compromise between budget, low prices, and high quality isn’t an easy thing to do. This is where Leupold comes in with an entry-level scope with high power and full-size potential. The 4-12x might not have a side focus, but then if it did, it’d be out of this price range.
What it does have is 1/4 MOA finger adjustable turrets. Yes, we tout the finger click feature because there’s nothing more annoying than having to dig around for a coin or screwdriver to make an adjustment. For entry-level, you know we are lovin’ the finger clicks.
However, it seems to be a trend for the Freedom series of scopes to have less than crisp turrets. There’s been few complaints that the clicks are too fluid and easy to use.
The Tri-MOA reticle is a big hit too. It’s easy to see and use with its 1 MOA hash marks with 10 MOA in each direction. But, if you’re not after the stadia-line reticle, there’s no current option to go with the Duplex reticle.
The 1″ tube still allows a wide 80 MOA of adjustment travel in both elevation and windage. Who needs an illuminated reticle when you have a SFP reticle and Leupold’s Twilight Light Management System to extend your hunt 10 more minutes during last legal light?
Having the freedom to buy Made-in-the-USA scopes with a budget of a few hundred bucks may be the best selling point Leupold can make. Hunters and huntresses, the VX-Freedom series.
Primary Arms 4-14X44
- 4-14X MAGNIFICATION: Features the patented ACSS HUD/DMR reticle that stays true through the scope's entire magnification range of 4x through 14x.
- ACSS HUD DMR RETICLE: Features quick ranging, wind holds and leads using .308 chambered rifles.
- ILLUMINATION: Features 6 brightness settings with an "off" notch between each setting.
This 4-14×44 scope from Primary Arms is part of the Silver Series of rifle scopes that paved the way for the brand to enter the world of FFP (first focal plane) scopes. Every feature on this scope is will not go unused. Every nook and cranny on this scope has been engineered to bring home the trophy rack, reduce your pest population, and even mil targets with the ranging reticle. How much does it cost? Just enough for you to afford it.
- Illuminated reticle
- FFP reticle
- .308 reticle
- 30 mm tube
- Build quality issues
There’s so much going on in the 4-14×44 scope, where do we start? The ACSS HUD DMR .308 reticle is obviously designed for .308 Winchester loads with its illuminated center horseshoe and chevron aiming point. Take advantage of rapid target acquisition with the 6 brightness illumination settings.
With an FFP reticle, you can depend on having accurate subtension data at any magnification range. You can even mil a distance of a target of known size, holdover for up to 1000 yards, hold for wind, and track moving targets up to 600 yards with this reticle. With a 30 mm tube, you have 17.4 MIL of adjustment travel for both elevation and windage with 1/10 MIL clicks.
For a feature-packed scope such as this, it’s right around where we expect it to be in terms of weight – 24 ounces. But, it’s not the heft that we’re curious about when it comes to complaints. There seems to be internal erector spring issues with the scope being unable to hold zero. Fortunately, this isn’t the norm, and the scope is backed by the brand with a 3-year warranty.
If you’re out to outfit our 308, do it with this scope. It’s worth toting around!
Redfield Revolution/TAC 3-9X40
- Tube Diameter: 1", Adjustment Click Value: 1/4 MOA
- Water/Fogproof: Yes, Reticle Focal Plane Location: 2nd
- Reticle: TAC-MOA, Min power: 3x, Max power: 9x
- Objective Bell Diameter: 45.72mm, Ocular Bell Diameter: 40.64mm, Eye Relief: 3.7-4.2", Exit Pupil Diameter: 12.1-4.7mm
Redfield hits the sweet spot with their Revolution rifle scopes, and the TAC-MOA model is by far one of our favorites for the price. Seriously, it’s made in the USA, and for the quality it has for such a low cost, it’s hard to believe. You’ve got high quality in the fundamental features of the scope such as the build, glass, and coatings.
The real niche is in the tactical-style reticle. It might be overkill for what you need it for, but it’s worth having it. With stadia lines along the entire windage reticle, you can use it as a rudimentary rangefinder – if you’re any good. The potential to get maximum use out of the Revolution rifle scope is all there. But, are you hunter enough to max out its potential? We dare you to check it out!
Leupold Rifleman 4-12X40
- Micro-friction dials are marked in 1/2-MOA increments for easy windage and elevation adjustments
- A versatile 3:1 zoom ratio erector system has you covered in virtually any situation
- Leupold's classic/standard fast focus eyepiece with a low profile lock ring makes reticle focus easy to achieve and maintain
The Leupold Rifleman 4-12X40 filled our number four spot. For you Leupold fans out there, this comes as no surprise.
The first thing about the Rifleman that caught my attention were the friction style turrets. While most may not be familiar with the design, the finer tuning you can get with them is the epitome of precision – no overshooting here.
For a low budget scope you’d probably think that it’s not going to hold a zero or ensure your rifle’s recoil – think again. Leupold puts all of their scopes, not just the high end ones, but the Rifleman too, under punishing shockproof tests.
And, the best thing about this scope is that you can get Leupold quality for less than $300. Don’t believe me? All the evidence you need is in our review.
Weaver 40/44 Series 6.5-20X44 AO
- Made of the highest quality materials
- Hunting scopes rifles
- Another quality Bushnell product
- Fully multi-coated lenses for optimum edge-to-edge clarity
- Nitrogen purged tubes to eliminate internal fogging
The Weaver 40/44 Series 6.5-20X44 AO rifle scope won this spot by very, very small margins.
It has a parallax adjustment, the AO, that pushed it over the winning line. I had to throw in a rifle scope with a high-end feature on it that comes in under $250.
The Weaver scope further impresses with fully multi-coated optics, and for a low budget scope with this caliber of coated lens, this is a sign that the manufacturer is going all out. If you’d like to know more about what this AO has to offer you, the complete review is ready and waiting!
What to Look for in a Rifle Scope in This Price Range
In this price range, you’re looking at the top of the line entry level rifle scopes in the market. You won’t have to deal with extra technologies and this and that feature that can complicate use. Sticking with the basic features is exactly what you want, but you also want quality where those fundamental features can maximize scope use. Let us show you where you want to see quality and where you can go without.
- Glass: The higher the quality, the better.
- Coatings: The more, the better.
- Ballistic reticles: If you’re going high-powered, shop for the most practical and accurate reticles you can find if you need ballistic data.
- Eye relief 3″+: Going cheap doesn’t mean you have to go without decent eye relief. Your rifle scope is going to let you know what a real black eye is if you don’t pay attention to this feature.
- Exit pupil 3-5 mm: Smaller than 3 mm? Expect to lose out on a lot of light-gathering potential.
- Durability: Using and abusing this scope is a reality. Make sure it can handle the terrain and recoil for your firearm and style of hunting/shooting.
Minimal Cost for Maximum Gain!
This is the high-end for entry level rifle scopes. All the quality is in the fundamental features of the scope. If you know what to keep your eyes peeled for, you won’t be duped into buying a dud.
Good thing for you, there are plenty of world-class brands that specialize in this price range and quality. It’s up to you to decide which brand you’re going to stay loyal to. No more sitting on the fence, it’s time to choose a side!