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.
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-2 3-9X40||3-9X 40mm||Duplex||4.20–3.70inches/ 13.3–14.4mm||View on Amazon|
|Zeiss Terra 3X 3-9X42||3-9X 42mm||Z-Plex, RZ6, RZ8||90mm/ 13.8–4.6mm||View on Amazon|
|Redfield Revolution TAC-MOA 3-9X40||3-9X 40mm||4-Plex, Accu-Range||3.7–4.2 inches/ 4.7–12.1mm||View on Amazon|
|Leupold Rifleman 4-12X40||4-12X 40mm||Wide Duplex, Rifleman Ballistic Reticle||4.90–3.70 inches/ 10–3.3mm||View on Amazon|
|Weaver 40/44 Series 6.5-20X44 AO||6.5-20X 44mm||Varminter, Dual-X||3 inches/ 2.2–6.8mm||View on Amazon|
Leupold VX-2 3-9X40
This VX rifle scope is an American favorite from a favorite American brand. It has everything you need for a bottom dollar price – it’s even made in the USA!
One of our favorite features about it is that it’s lightweight and compact. It’s not going to be a burden when trekking or scouting the field. While it might seem mediocre in features, the quality is in the glass and workmanship – duh, it’s a Leupold!
You can always customize your VX-2 with a complex ballistic reticle or go up a model for that extra reach. We love Leupold for its ability to make a scope according to our needs – that’s customization for ya!
Zeiss Terra 3X 3-9X42
The Zeiss Terra 3X 3-9X42 takes second place! Surprised to see a Zeiss in this $200-$300 dollar price range?
Carl Zeiss optics are long-known for their exceptional quality and crystal clear glass. And, just because this is one of their entry level rifle scopes, you shouldn’t assume that it’s a piece of junk.
It has their proprietary MC anti-reflective fully multi-coated coatings – it could be considered stealing to have this quality of lens coatings in this price range. It also features the popular 3X 3-9X variable power with a slightly larger objective lens than the oft-seen 40mm – now that’s a way to put a twist on an already extremely popular model.
Getting the Zeiss quality for below $300 is too good to be true. This model definitely hits it out of the ball park when compared with not only other cheaper brands high end scopes but some self-proclaimed high-end brands too.
So, if you’re curious to see if Zeiss puts the same care and quality into their entry level scopes as their high-performing ones, be sure to check out the full review.
Redfield Revolution/TAC 3-9X40
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
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
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 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!