You can still expect the best quality from a scope in the middle ground price range.
Just because they’re priced around what we’d realistically spend, it doesn’t mean they’re cheap or temporary optics. In fact, they’re exceptional optics for the money.
If you want to cash in on top-notch brands like Leupold, Nikon, and Vortex, your $500 is going to go a long way!
Best Hunting Rifle Scopes Under $500
Every intermediate and pro hunter can tell you that they’ve owned a rifle scope in this price range. It might still be their favorite scope to hunt with to this day. That’s because they’ll last, perform well, and remain accurate even after multiple hunting seasons.
If a beginner gets to pick their first-time buy from this price range, it’s definitely going to be a splurge. But, why not start off strong with some of the most dependable scopes in the market? You’ve got nothing to lose with A-class brands catering to your scope needs!
|Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10X40||3.5-10X 40mm||Duplex, Boone & Crockett||4.4-3.6inches/|
|View on Amazon|
|Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16X42||4-16X 42mm||Dead-Hold BDC||4.0 inches / 10.5-2.62mm||View on Amazon|
|Nikon Monarch 3 4-16X42 BDC||4-16X 42mm||BDC||4 inches/ 2.6–10.5mm||View on Amazon|
|Nikon Prostaff 7 4-16X42 BDC||4-16X 42mm||BDC||3.6–4 inches/ 2.6–10.5mm||View on Amazon|
Our 3 Top Rifle Scopes Less Than $500
Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10X40
The Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10X40 is a beauty of a scope that has many various reticle options including the Boone & Crockett and an illuminated reticle.
It also features Leupold’s Twilight Max Light Management System and Diamondcoat 2 lens technology that gives you the best, clearest, and sharpest image possible, as well as a fast-focus eyepiece with locking mechanism.
These features combine to give you a great all-purpose rifle scope with the Leupold stamp of quality, accuracy, and premium usability.
Whether you are in a wooded forest, or the open plains, the VX-3i will help you get the job done.
Vortex Optics Diamondback HP 4-16X42 (with Dead-Hold BDC Reticle)
It’s no secret that we love Vortex, and we go nuts over their Diamondback optics. What’s not to love about them? It’s one of the affordable lines Vortex offers that has more quality than it should for its price. You’re looking at XD glass elements, XR coatings, and ArmorTek coatings that provides you with Vortex’s excellent glass quality.
Vortex gives their all when it comes to providing the best. That’s why they also include some neat freebies that you don’t always see in this price range. If you’re curious as to why we drool over and applaud this American brand, you’ll have to check out the Diamondback for yourself!
Nikon Monarch 3 4-16X42 BDC
The Monarch is Nikon’s flagship optic line, and this Monarch 3 more than comes up to par. It’s got just the right amount of quality to justify its price, and you’ve also got the trusty Nikon name under its belt.
It’s outfitted with ballistic technology from the reticle and parallax correction turret to the zero reset turret and access to Spot On Ballistic Match Technology. It’s also going to deliver exceptional image quality with its fully multi-coated optics, Ultra ClearCoat, and quick focus eyepiece.
What can we say? The Monarch rightfully reigns over all other Nikons!
Nikon Prostaff 7 4-16X42 BDC
The Prostaff 7 4-16X42 BDC is from a favorite, dependable, and well-known brand – Nikon. This relatively new Prostaff puts you in the $400 range and you’re getting comparable quality to Nikon’s flagship Monarch line that costs twice as much.
With a 30mm tube body, increased internal adjustment range, and zero reset turrets, this scope is a great buy. Nikon is known for their dependability without muddying up the waters of the scope industry with too many fancy trappings that devalue the functionality and simplicity of a rifle scope.
Once again, Nikon delivers an excellent mid-range rifle scope that deserves more attention than the cool guys want to give it.
What to Look in a Rifle Scope in this Price Range?
If you’ve seen what high-end rifle scopes look like, you’re probably thinking you’re going to lose out on a lot when spending $500 or less – not so. This middle ground price range is usually where hunters will realistically spend their cash. On that note, optics manufacturers will still pump out quality because they know that’s exactly what we’re looking for. If you want to know what quality looks like for 500 bucks, here’s your checklist.
- Quality glass: Includes premium glass elements Ex. ED, HD, etc.
- Quality glass coatings: Includes prism coatings, and weather, scratch, and debris repellent coatings.
- Ballistic reticles: Shop for the most practical and accurate reticles you can find if you need ballistic data.
- Eye relief 3″+: Without decent eye relief, your rifle scope is going to let you know what a real black eye is.
- Parallax correction: Going high powered and long range? $500 can still land you a scope with parallax correction.
- 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.
- Quality warranties: Have the assurance that your rifle scope is fully covered for any unforeseen damage.
Mid-Range Isn’t Mediocre!
This might be the middle ground when it comes to budgets, but in no way does it mean mediocre quality. You’ve still got very high-end quality, but the extra features are just scaled down a notch.
Rifle scopes in this budget are very popular because hunters feel comfortable with their performance for the money they’ve spent. They’re made to impress, last, and perform. In our books, this is a mile above mediocre.