Best AR 15 Scopes For Coyote Hunting & Predators
Last Updated: October 24, 2020
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Not quite ready to hang up the camo once you've tagged your trophy bull? Who says you have to? Pull out your highly capable AR-15 and load up for some coyote hunting or varmint hunting.
Few coyotes are able to make a wily escape with the long-ranging 400-600 yard .223 Rem cartridge, especially when it's paired up with a variable scope to track those sly creatures.
Top Coyote Hunting AR-15 Scopes
|Vortex Crossfire II 3-9x40 V-Brite||CHECK PRICE|
|Trijicon TR24R AccuPoint 1-4x24||CHECK PRICE|
|Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7x33||CHECK PRICE|
|Primary Arms 1-6X24 SFP Gen III ACSS-Predator||CHECK PRICE|
|ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20X||CHECK PRICE|
|Bushnell Banner 4x32||CHECK PRICE|
Coyotes - they're predators, pests, and extremely intelligent. They're highly adaptable creatures which makes them a welcome challenge to hunt. They use the cover of night to slink into chicken coops and kidnap livestock. In some states, population control is a must, and regulations may be forgiving and generous. But, are you equipped with the best coyote hunting scope to join in on the hunt?
Can an AR-15 (ArmaLite 15) be used for predator & coyote hunting? Why not? The MSR offers fast follow-up shots, easy loading/unloading, and accuracy to realistic distances that keep you in stealth mode.
Predator hunters have been doing it for some time, long before it became a fad, and with the increasing expansion of cartridge and ammo options, it'll still be done for quite some time. The popular .223 can be modified with loads and barrel lengths to achieve even faster and more accurate, instantaneous kill shots - exactly what you need for coyote hunting.
So, what's the best scope to mount to your coyote hunting rifle? It's definitely going to be a variable scope that can make use of some close-range work but can still allow you to dial out or holdover as necessary. That isn't to say we're against fixed power scopes either. We have a scope just for that in our lineup.
Coyotes have a keen sense of smell and sight, and they're fast. You're going to need decent magnification, field of view, and maybe an illuminated crosshair if you're going to play the part of the predator!
6 Best Scopes For AR 15 Coyote Hunting in 2020
1. Vortex Crossfire II 3-9X40 Review
Vortex takes top position as the best AR-15 scope in this category and it's not a $1000 scope that takes first place in the lineup, it's a $200 one that gets it done. The Vortex Crossfire II series of scopes is very well-known with the hunting and target shooting masses. Who hasn't heard of the Crossfires? If you sheepishly raised your hand, here's what you've been missing out on.
- Illuminated reticle
- Fully multi-coated optics
- Fast focus eyepiece
- Build quality issues
The Crossfire II scope is an affordable option that gets by rather well without the bells and whistles of higher end models. This particular one has 3-9x power to keep an eye on those coyotes whether they're 75 or 400 yards from you.
The reticle on this model is the V-Brite. It uses Vortex's V-Plex reticle with an illuminated center dot for rapid target acquisition. The illumination is powered with a CR2032 battery, and it's purposely intended for low-light use in the field, you know, the time of day coyotes are out and about.
Turrets have 60 MOA of elevation and windage adjustment travel with 1/4 MOA clicks and 15 MOA revolutions. Turrets are re-settable to zero and they come capped for external protection from the elements and from accidentally being nudged out of place without knowing it - you know what we're talking about.
The fully multi-coated optics add to the clarity and brightness that Vortex optics are known for, but unfortunately, even the best sight picture won't do anything for you if the reticle comes canted. Some defective models have reticle issues and build quality problems. Yes, it's made in China, but it's Vortex that covers the unlimited lifetime warranty on it.
This scope has the right specs and features to be hunting coyotes tonight, and it tops our list because it also sports the right kinda price!
2. Trijicon TR24R AccuPoint 1-4X24 Review
It's not the best price-friendly option in our lineup - okay, it's the most expensive one, but it should come as no surprise that it's a Trijicon that raises its flag and sports a price tag worth some serious consideration. What does the AccuPoint have to offer the fanatic AR coyote hunter? Here's what!
- Battery-free reticle illumination
- Glass-etched reticle
- Close to mid-range
- Low 1-4x power
- Multi-purpose scope
In some circles, the price for this scope is reasonable and worth it. In this lineup, it's on the expensive end. However, it's a Trijicon and they're revered for their stunning, bright glass clarity, accuracy, and built-like-a-tank build quality. Trijicon's are often worth the high price.
When you see that this scope has a glass-etched reticle, you know straight off the bat there's some top quality craftsmanship here. With a 30 mm tube body, you have a total of 90 MOA adjustment travel. The low power of 1-4x allows rapid use to make quick work of close to mid-range shots.
Afraid batteries may fail on you while dusk approaches and you are out coyote hunting ? The TR24R AccuPoint is a battery-free illuminated scope. The reticle is powered by fiber optics and tritium for a lit-up aiming point to get on target. Speaking of the aiming point, this scope has the Triangle Post reticle that draws your eye quickly to the sneaking coyote that thinks he's alone.
Compact - 10.3" and lightweight - 14.4 oz, it's a great addition to your MSR that won't weigh you down. However, eye relief is pushing it at its listed 3.2", but it hasn't been mentioned as a drawback from the masses.
If you're using this same scope for coyote hunting, predator, big-game, and even some tactical and range shooting, this Trijicon is an all-round champ!
3. Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7X33 Review
Sporting a lightweight, high impact MSR rifle dedicated for predator & coyote hunting? Need a wide field of view to catch sight of coyotes being called in? The Leupold VX-Freedom scope is an affordable rifle scope with all the right specs to complete your predator hunting rifle.
- Wide field of view
- Low-mid power
- Easy-To-Grip power ring
- Twilight Light Management System
- No other reticle options
The VX-Freedom line of scopes is popular for a range of shooting applications, and it's one of our favorite options for predator & coyote hunting with an AR-15. It's super lightweight at only 11.1 ounces, and it has very generous eye relief of 4.2-3.7 inches. With a field of view of 43.8 ft at 100 yards, you have a decent sight picture of coyotes slinking into your line of sight when you bust out the calls.
This model has the duplex reticle that draws your eye right to the center with the intersecting crosshairs. It's not illuminated to aid visual target acquisition at low light, but the glass does have Leupold's proprietary Twilight Light Management System tech to give you an extra 10 minutes light gathering when you need it most. You'll also notice your sight picture will have Leupold's standard of clarity - something you need when you want to differentiate between the type of predator in your sights.
To make zooming in and examining details a smooth transition, the power ring is heavily knurled with an Easy-To-Grip design. Parallax is factory set at 150 yards, finger adjustable turrets are in 1/4 MOA, and of course, this Leupold is completely waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. It's also outfitted with scratch-resistant lenses for those moments you're trudging through brush.
The compact size of the coyote hunting scope is a huge advantage when most of the time your rifle is slung around the shoulder or across the lap while waiting for the few seconds it'll be used on one coyote. When you finally get to put it to your eye, you want to be able to see clearly, track your moving target, and know you're going to hit dead-on every time. In this scenario, Leupold does it.
4. Primary Arms 1-6X24 SFP Gen III ACSS-Predator Review
If there's a manufacturer that offers tons of options with multiple power ranges and reticles to mix and match between rifle scopes, it's PA (Primary Arms). They know how to deliver customization to a hunter without the need to break the piggy bank. One such hunting scope that needs more word of mouth praise is the SS 1-6x24 SFP Gen III scope with the ACSS-Predator reticle.
- Predator dedicated reticle
- Illuminated reticle
- Capped turrets
- 30 mm tube
- Possible reticle issues
If you've been diligent about your AR-15 scope research, you'll notice we featured this scope in our Best AR-15 Scopes lineup. However, this model features the ACSS Predator reticle instead of the ACSS Standard 5.56 reticle.
What's so great about the ACSS Predator? Other than the fact that it's glass-etched, illuminated, and is in the SFP (second focal plane), it's a dedicated coyote and hog reticle. The illuminated center chevron with the segmented circle/horseshoe draws the eye to the target. The ballistic compensating, auto-ranging, and see-through circles are based on a 10" circle to track and range your target.
Choose between non-illuminated, red, and green depending on light conditions and eye comfort. When low light approaches, you might find the green works well to distinguish between the glowing, beady eyes of your coyote versus your aiming point.
But, with all rifle scopes equipped with illumination, you might find it will take a little know-how to avoid reticle bleed during certain times of the day. Or, it might just be legitimate illumination bleed that will need repair or scope replacement. By the way, the scope is warrantied with lifetime coverage.
With capped, low-profile turrets, 30 mm tube, and complete protection against water, fog, and shock, this PA scope is dedicated to and begging for the hunt.
5. ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20X
A digital night vision (NV) scope was bound to make the lineup at some point. No coyote hunting rifle scope list is complete without one, and to make it even better, the ATN X-Sight II is a very popular and tried and tested scope in the field. If you plan on staying out after dark, are techie enough to catch on to smart technology, and you're willing to pay the cash price for it, the X-Sight II is worth a once-over. We gave it a full review here.
- Day/night compatible
- Digital features
- HD optics
- Illuminated reticle options
- WiFi/Bluetooth compatible
For a smart piece of technology, it certainly sports the price tag to match. Maybe it's overkill and more scope than you need, but why not deck out your MSR? Use it as a multi-purpose scope, although it's definitely going to add some poundage to your overall setup. The scope itself weighs around 2.5 lbs, and battery life can last anywhere between 8-12 hours depending on what features you're taking advantage of. Yeah - there's some downsides to digital technology out in the hunt.
But, the advantages are attractive for good reason. Imagine being able to record your stab-in-the-dark shot on the coyote or predator that thought he was the stalker of the night? Imagine no more. The X-Sight II can video record your experience and then be uploaded and shared via Bluetooth or WiFi.
Perhaps taking some of the challenge and fun out of the hunt, the digital scope is able to range your target and automatically adjust to the correct point of aim to make the kill shot. It's capable of so much more like multiple reticle colors and reticle patterns. You can also choose between the iconic "green" screen of NV or see what it's like with a black and white display when the sun is down and it's complete night out.
The ATN scope sounds like fun, but it may be on the heavy end and too much fuss and work for your simple and straightforward MSR setup. But, if you're nifty to begin with and are willing to get intimate with controls to avoid fumbling in the dark, you must give the X-Sight a run for its money!
Yes, this is a serious option and not a joke. An AR-style scope under $100 can be good enough for your coyote hunt. But, what's the deal with the fixed 4x power? Let us explain why the Banner scope is good enough for the masses and good enough for us.
- Fixed 4x
- Dusk & Dawn coatings
- Circle-X reticle
- Adjustment/reticle issues
This budget scope is about as basic as it gets. There's no frills and twills about it. But, what it does have is decent quality for the price. Dusk & Dawn Brightness (DDB) technology is a proprietary multi-layer coating that Bushnell isn't quite transparent about. But, the idea is that it gives you adequately clear and bright image quality during those hard-to-see hours - dusk and dawn…
The reticle isn't illuminated to aid in low-light hours for predator & coyote hunting, but the Circle-X reticle is large enough to utilize and see during the long hours ahead. Those long hours sitting still to stay covert will be on the doable side since the Banner scope weighs only 11.1 oz. A little rain ain't gonna do nothin' since it's waterproof - a requirement for a hunter since weather is rarely on your side.
Why the fixed 4x power? We ask, why not? You can eliminate unnecessary movement since coyotes are scanning the terrain for unnatural movement whether it's due to messing with magnification, focus/parallax, or adjustments. Because the scope has fixed 4x, there's less glass and moving lenses, and they can offer more "brightness" than higher powered scopes. Less glass and components can also help to shed overall weight.
While there's very little complaint by the masses about this scope, it has been mentioned that the reticle is not responsive to adjustments. If you can't sight it in, you can't use it. The Banner scope is covered with Bushnell's Limited Lifetime Warranty for these defective models.
For the money, the image quality is better than expected. Worth buying today? Do you have to ask?
What to Look for in a AR-15 Scope for Hunting Coyote
Every AR hunter thinks they have the best setup in the world - maybe. It's certainly true for them, but what they prefer may not be the best setup for you.
What is your hunting terrain like? Are you going to be out in the darkest hours of night? Are you using the same setup for big-game hunting, too?
The factors that go into choosing a hunting scope, regardless if it's for an AR or a traditional hunting rifle, can be just as modifiable as the AR-15 rifle is itself. In that case, you'll have to determine what specs and features are right for your hunting style. But, we can always lend a hand and suggest some ideas to think about.
There are those that say you don't have to spend a lot on a coyote hunting scope, and then there are those who are shelling out over a grand just to get it done for one hunting season. Where do you set the limits? We're sure you know how much you can afford, now spend a little more. You'll notice the difference in glass quality a little extra money can buy you when it's dark out and you need to discern between predators that are out during the night stalk. Our lineup has budget to mid-priced scope options to give you an idea of how much other hunters are spending on their scope system for their AR.
This factor will largely depend on what your hunting style and terrain is like. You'll know best whether low power will get the job done for close-mid range shots, or you might prefer a large objective for some extra power to stretch the distance to the capabilities of your cartridge. Are most of your shots under 150, 300 yards? Will you be using your long-range shooting skills to take down coyotes 600 yards plus during the day?
You'll also need to consider your field of view to adequately spot predators. The higher up you go in magnification, the more field of view you will lose. Additionally, if you're using a ballistic drop compensating reticle, you can only use holdover points at max magnification.
It would be convenient if coyotes came out broadside during the light of day, but that's not often the case. One of the difficulties of hunting these predators is they prefer to use the cover of darkness to get up to mischief making them hard to detect, identify, and shoot accurately. You need good glass that can keep up to the demands of low light conditions. Being brand-specific, maybe opting for a large objective lens, or an illuminated reticle can help improve your sight picture and target take down.
Hunting scopes should be held to a high level of durability. Not only are you hiking miles, getting in and out of trucks, climbing tree stands, and dragging gear along with you, you also have bad weather and terrain that always seems to work against you. The last thing you need is a big scratch on the lens, fogged-up glass, or a zero that’s way off base so that you're forced into calling it a day when you just began. Point taken? It's gotta be worth its salt.
It doesn't matter how much your scope costs, make sure it comes with some sort of money back guarantee or lifetime warranty. The big brands in the industry often have the best warranties that includes lifetime, transferable warranties, and no questions/no proof of purchase needed. Some underdog brands wanting to make the big time often have excellent and highly responsive customer service. Be sure to be ready to inspect and test out your scope within your return window period and to keep proof of purchase for the less than the best warranties.
The AR-15: Best Rifle for Coyote Hunting
As modifiable as the MSR is, it was bound to be recognized as an excellent weapon for coyote & predator hunting. The key in producing successful kill shots, and we mean drop-dead-in-its-tracks type of kill shots, when using an AR is to ensure you have the right gear.
It goes beyond barrel lengths, choice of cartridge, bullet velocity, and usable distances for those loads, it must include optics. Can your scope maximize your AR-15 setup? Does your scope allow you to identify and track your target at last legal light of day? It might be time to upgrade your optics to one of the coyote hunting scopes above!
*Be informed about local and state regulations regarding predator/coyote hunting. Time restraints, fur harvesting, licensing, and more factors may affect the legality of the hunt.