Barska Rifle Scope Reviews: Budget-Friendly Scopes Under $100

When you’re in the market for a budget-friendly rifle scope you can get lost in the droves of options available to you.

With several retailers that stock their shelves with a huge variety of affordable rifle scopes of many brands, it’s so easy to buy the first one and the most inexpensive one that you see.

While cheap may be the way to go, you should know a thing or two about what you want and how to get it for the best price. A wide field of view, low light strength, and perhaps an illuminated reticle just might be in your price range.

Check out this Barska rifle scope review to find out, we will review the:

There’s probably a whole list of optics companies that you can easily name off the top of your head when it comes to searching for affordable and budget scopes, and Barska is most definitely one of them.

Who Are Barska?

Barska has always been dedicated to ensuring the best prices possible for hunters, target shooters, and the tactical fanatic. If you’re looking for a cheap, but reliable and budget-friendly, but quality rifle scope for under $100 Barska has exactly what you need.

They have a huge inventory to explore, and it can give you some head dizziness just trying to figure out where to start. But, this Barska scope review will list the most favorite hunting rifle scopes among hunters to date.

Barska Rifle Scope Reviews

While some of Barska’s scopes are a hit and miss among consumers, there are some favorites that take home the gold when it comes to clarity, low light hunting, and even long range hunting. They all have the star-favorite 30/30 cross hair, large 50 mm objective diameter lens, and reticles in the second focal plane.

If you want to buy a Barska scope, you’re typically not going to spend more than $200. This review has some of the best of what Barska has to offer, and they’re all under $100! For an entry level scope for a beginner or no-nonsense and no-frills hunter, these scopes are a bargain!

Barska Huntmaster 3-9X50 Review

barska-3-9x50-huntmaster-30-30-riflescopeThis Barska Huntmaster 3-9X50 rifle scope is one of the most inexpensive rifle scopes of the Barska line. While it retails for around $55 online, you could probably find it for around $30 easily while it’s on sale. And because it’s such a cheap scope, there’s not a lot of financial risks to take.

Reviewers thought this scope was worth giving it a try and it’s raked in an above average rating. Not bad for a budget scope.

This particular rifle scope made this review for two things, and the first is because it has the 3-9X power that most hunters are looking for. The second is the price range it fell into. Since we’re reviewing one of the cheapest brands in the optics industry, I owed it to you to review their $30-$55 rifle scope for the hunter.

If you’re just as curious as the next hunter to see how a roughly $55 scope performs, here’s the Q&A to get an up close and personal look at it.

Huntmaster 3-9X50 Rifle Scope Q&A:

Q. What is the image quality like?

A. This Huntmaster rifle scope has fully-coated lens, which means that every air-to-glass surface will be coated with a single layer of chemical coatings to reduce glare and reflection and allow for as much light transmission as possible.

For such an economical scope this Barska could have what most other optic manufacturers do with their inferior scopes – give it coated lens. This means that only one lens surface is treated with the formulated chemical coating. But, Barska gave the low-cost Huntmaster a glass treatment, that’s more than what a scope of this price range is usually outfitted with.

This means a brighter and clearer picture for you. Hunters who buy Barska scopes don’t complain about the fair picture quality. It’s actually really good for what you’re paying for it.

Q. Does this scope come with any accessories?

A. Impressively it does! Barska throws in some scope caps and a lens cleaning cloth. Let me explain why something that may seem so trivial to you impresses me. This is a $50(approx) rifle scope that is built on the no-frills, nothing fancy design.

For such a low cost, you almost never expect to get anything extra with the scope – including the standard lens cloth and lens caps. Even very high-end optics brands don’t always throw in the extra accessories. Yes, this extra perk excites me and it should excite you.

Q. Is this Barska rifle scope waterproof?

A. Yes! This 3-9X50 Huntmaster is fully waterproof and fog-proof. While you might always expect your rifle scopes to have these elements, you really never know when you’re buying an optic that costs less than date night. It’s definitely a pleasant surprise to see that they’re fully covered for when it starts to get a little wet.

Q. How long will this Huntmaster rifle scope last?

A. Well it’s no surprise that a cheap scope isn’t going to be your lifetime purchase. With such inexpensive manufacturing to get the consumer the bargain-barrel price of this scope, you should at least be able to get a few years out of it. After thorough and tried use, especially on on .308 Win, some parts might start to come loose. You may see the lens come out of its setting and rattle around in the objective bell. That’s your sign that you need to get a replacement or spend a little more on a newer Barska upgrade.

But, if you’re plinking, recreational shooting, or mounting it for an entry level beginner hunter then this scope is definitely worth the buy. Get a little experience, a little know-how, and you’ll be ready to promote yourself to a new and fancy rifle scope in no time – that would be a whole $50 well spent.

Q. Is this a compact and lightweight scope?

A. This Barska 3-9X scope has a length of 12.2 inches that is definitely on the more compact and shorter end of the spectrum. While somewhere between 12 to 13 inches is almost the norm for a compact scope, there have been some hunters who seem to get a short fit. If it’s a little too short for your rings, you may need to buy a new set for a more secure, safe, and proper fit.

As far as being lightweight, it’s not. It weighs in at 21 ounces and for a 3-9X scope, this is actually way on the heavy end. But hey, for under $50, who’s complaining?

Barska Huntmaster 3-9X50 Specs:

  • Magnification: 3-9X
  • Power Variability: Variable
  • Objective Diameter: 50 mm
  • Length/Weight/Tube Diameter: 12.2 inches/20.1 ounces/1 inch
  • Field of View: 32 – 12 feet/100 yards
  • Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 3.3 inches/16.7 – 5.6 mm
  • Reticle: 30/30
  • Adjustment Info: 1/4 MOA/Click
  • Optics Coatings: Fully coated
  • Finish: Black Matte
  • Waterproof/Shockproof: Yes/Yes
  • Parallax Setting: Factory-set 100 yards
  • Airgun rated: No
  • Illuminated Reticle: No
  • Mounting Rings Included: No

Noteworthy Features:

  • Large 50 mm objective lens for strength-performance in low light conditions
  • All-purpose 30/30 duplex reticle for all shooters and hunters
  • Fully coated lenses for deep color contrast and bright images
  • Waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof
  • 1/4 MOA clicks
  • Backed by Barska’s Limited Lifetime Warranty

Rating:

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Barska Huntmaster Pro 3-12X50 IR Review

barska-3-12x50-ir-huntmaster-pro-30-30-ir-cross-riflescopeThis Barska Huntmaster Pro 3-12X50 IR rifle scope is an excellent scope for under $100. If you’re looking for an illuminated reticle, the most versatile power range, and low light hunting performance out of an affordable rifle scope, then this is it.

Online reviewers have all sorts of high praises for the Huntmaster Pro and they gave it a solid rating with dozens and dozens of people voting in. With such a large reviewer base, the customer satisfaction rate is definitely high.

For all-purpose and general hunting, plinking, and target shooting, this rifle scope is the champ of the lot in this Barska scope review. With lots talking about it plenty of people praising it on other scope forums, the Huntmaster Pro is worth every penny of the roughly $80 spent.

For a rifle scope under $100 you might just be curious as to why it attracts hunters across the nation. Good specs, nice techs, and great glass – that’s all there is to it. Here’s the Q&A to see what has your neighboring hunter turning his head in the Barska direction.

Huntmaster Pro 3-12X50 IR Rifle Scope Q&A:

Q. Is this a good rifle scope for low light hunting?

A. This Barska scope has 50 mm multi-coated objective lens that’s excellent for low light hunting. The large diameter size allows for as much light collection as possible while the multi-coated lens keep out most of the glare and reflections. On top of that, this rifle scope has the IR feature to give you pinpoint accuracy at dusk. Nocturnal critters and night-time predators won’t be safe from you now.

Q. What does IR mean?

A. This Huntmaster Pro rifle scope has Barska’s IR technology to help you hunt better when night is nigh. IR stands for Illuminated Red and is the Huntmaster’s Pro illuminated option. The illumination control sits on top of the tube between the power ring and the eyepiece. It has 10 different brightness settings to appropriately adjust for the conditions.

Q. What is the 30/30 reticle?

A. The 30/30 reticle that is featured on the Huntmaster, Huntmaster Pro, AO Varmint, and many other Barska rifle scopes is your simple, straightforward, and all-purpose duplex style reticle. It’s simple, clean, and hunters love the uncluttered look. This Huntmaster Pro rifle scope has the 30/30 IR Cross reticle. It’s the 30/30 reticle with only the center cross that illuminates.

Q. Is this scope heavy for a carry-around rifle?

A. This Huntmaster Pro is a great scope for carry-around shooting activities. While it is a little on the heavy end, weighing in at 21.34 ounces, it’s only a mere ounce heavier than the above Huntmaster 3-9X50. This scope has 3-12X power and even a whole other illumination control turret with an included CR2032 3V Lithuim Battery. For the sake of argument, all the extras it has over the former rifle scope makes its weight a non-issue.

Q. Can you see the turrets and power ring easily?

A. The design of the Huntmaster series sports a clunky look about it. The illuminated control turret is taller than the elevation turret and completely blocks the view. The large and bulky eyepiece tubing completely overwhelms the power ring, forcing you to leave your sight picture to use it. The build may not be as user-friendly as it could be.

Q. What is the eye relief on the Huntmaster Pro?

A. This Barska rifle scope has a very short eye relief of 2.7 inches. That’s a heck of a lot shorter than most rifle scopes made for heavy caliber rifles where eye relief is somewhere between 3 to 6 inches. But, for at least 120 reviewers online, it’s not a huge deal. Whether or not it’s an issue for you, you’ll need to make that call for comfort and safety’s sake.

Q. Is Huntmaster Pro covered by a warranty?

A. Yes! Barska covers all of their rifle scopes with their Limited Lifetime Warranty. But, there is a catch-22 – let me explain.

Normally when you send in a scope to be repaired or replaced under warranty, it’s typical to pay for the shipping costs, that’s no surprise. But, if you pay careful attention to your warranty card that comes in the packaging with the rifle scope, you’ll notice there is going to be an additional processing fee attached. Barska doesn’t really get into what exactly this fee is for.

It almost makes it seem like having the warranty is redundant if you have to pay a fee to get a full refund, credit, or repair. Either way, with the cost of shipping and the processing fee, it might end up being too bothersome to deal with the warranty in the end. So, if you’re in the market for a cheap rifle scope, don’t buy this one for its warranty.

Barska Huntmaster Pro 3-12X50 IR Specs:

  • Magnification: 3-12X
  • Power Variability: Variable
  • Objective Diameter: 50 mm
  • Length/Weight/Tube Diameter: 13 inches/21.34 ounces/1 inch
  • Field of View: 35 – 10 feet/100 yards
  • Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 3.3 inches/16.7 – 5.6 mm
  • Reticle: 30/30
  • Adjustment Info: 1/4 MOA/Click
  • Optics Coatings: Multi-coated
  • Finish: Black Matte
  • Waterproof/Shockproof: Yes/Yes
  • Parallax Setting: Factory-set 100 yards
  • Airgun rated: No
  • Illuminated Reticle: Yes
  • Mounting Rings Included: No

Noteworthy Features:

  • Large 50 mm objective lens for strength-performance in low light conditions
  • All-purpose 30/30 duplex reticle for all shooters and hunters
  • Center cross illumination for low light hunting accuracy
  • Multi-coated lenses for bright and clear image quality
  • Waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof
  • 1/4 MOA clicks
  • Backed by Barska’s Limited Lifetime Warranty

Rating:

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Barska AO Varmint 4-16X50 Review

barska-4-16x50-ao-varmint-30-30-riflescopeThis Barska AO Varmint 4-16X50 rifle scope has impressed a demographic of its own. Shooters who turn to Barska for the low prices but the same specs that you see on much more expensive rifle scopes are hooked on this optic. The adjustable objective, the long range magnification power, the large objective lens – it all adds up to why reviewers gave this scope a fantastic rating.

Out of the reviewers, many of them gave it a perfect rating. The AO Varmint does okay for itself out there in the field.

To give a little diversity to this Barska scope review, I chose to include the popular AO Varmint rifle scope. It’s right there in the low-cost price range, it has a decent amount of a fan base, and it has all the right features to make the most out of your hunt.

But, is this scope as good as it sounds? Let’s hope it lives up to your expectations (and mine) with the Q&A.

AO Varmint 4-16X50 Rifle Scope Q&A:

Q. What is the click value on this rifle scope?

A. This is a varminter rifle scope, even for long ranges, so the click value is measured in 1/8 MOA clicks – not your standard 1/4 MOA clicks. This Barska hunting scope is not only great for seeking out those small and fast varmints, but also big game predators. You just want to make sure you have it mounted on powerful enough caliber rifles.

Q. Are the turrets finger-adjustable?

A. These large elevation and windage turrets are a great size to easily use and rotate. They are finger-adjustable and have nice, clear, numbered references for easy use to get you out farther than you thought possible for a approximately $80 rifle scope.

Q. How much does this Barska rifle scope cost?

A. This Barska AO Varmint rifle scope costs around the $78 to $89 online. I’m sure if you stalked online sales you could find it for a little cheaper than that. But, to find a scope with multi-coated optics, 4-16X power, and 50 mm objective lens, complete with full water-tightness and fog-proof elements for roughly $80 is practically unheard of.

When you’re on a tight budget, spending under $100 for a good-enough scope that’ll help you get the job done right, is a great buy.

Q. What kind of parallax adjustment feature does the Varmint scope have?

A. With power ranges of 4-16X you can be sure there’s going to be an adjustment for parallax correction somewhere on the rifle scope. And, this Varmint scope has a 50 mm adjustable objective. The yard ranges on the objective bell indicate that the parallax can adjust all the way down to 20 yards, but it will rotate past that.

You just have to adjust the focus and come all the way down to 4X power to make sure that you can get a sharp reticle image without parallax if you’re wanting to get closer.

Q. Is this Varmint rifle scope for long range hunting?

A. This Barska AO rifle scope is made for the long range shooting enthusiast. A 4-16X power offers maximum ranging for a lot of hunters. One other thing to note is the reticle on this scope. This features the 30/30 reticle – a non-distracting and simple reticle that hunters appreciate.

But, if you’re maximizing the long distance shooting potential of this rifle scope, a BDC-type reticle would come in handy for this application – even a basic BDC would’ve been great to offer. Sadly, Barska doesn’t offer another reticle for this model.

And while I’m on a rant, it would’ve been a great option to add an illuminated reticle, even just center-lit, for a scope with 50 mm objective lens with such an awesome long ranging distance. Barska could’ve done better with this model to strengthen its low light hunting and long range potential.

Q. Will it hold up to heavy recoil?

A. This Barska AO Varmint rifle scope is supposed to be fully shockproof – well, according to Barska. However, field testing has proven a different story.

While the scope seems to do just fine with some heavy caliber rifles like the 30-06, Marlin XT-22 MR magnum, XT-22 VR long rifle, and the .308 Win, it seems that it’s not always the case. You might experience losing your zero because of the recoil like that of a .308 Win Mag or a Mosin-Nagant M44 carbine.

It seems that you might be taking your chances with recoil consequences if you’re using the big boys for hunting.

Barska AO Varmint 4-16X50 Specs:

  • Magnification: 4-16X
  • Power Variability: Variable
  • Objective Diameter: 50 mm
  • Length/Weight/Tube Diameter: 14.57 inches/21 ounces/1 inch
  • Field of View: 16 – 5.7 feet/100 yards
  • Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 3.5 inches/12.5 – 3.1 mm
  • Reticle: 30/30
  • Adjustment Info: 1/8 MOA/Click
  • Optics Coatings: Multi-coated
  • Finish: Black Matte
  • Waterproof/Shockproof: Yes/Yes
  • Parallax Setting: 20+ yards
  • Airgun rated: No
  • Illuminated Reticle: Yes
  • Mounting Rings Included: No

Noteworthy Features:

  • Large 50 mm objective lens for strength-performance in low light conditions
  • 4-16X power for long range shooting on big game or varmints
  • Second focal plane reticle keep dead-on point of aim at any distance
  • All-purpose 30/30 duplex reticle for all shooters and hunters
  • Adjustable Objective lens for parallax correction
  • Multi-coated lenses for bright and clear image quality
  • Waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof
  • 1/8 MOA clicks with large number referenced elevation and windage turrets
  • Backed by Barska’s Limited Lifetime Warranty

Rating:

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Which is the Best Barska Rifle Scope for You?

Barska rifles scopes are for the hunter who doesn’t want to fork out more than he has to for an optic that can get the job done. Cheap, affordable, economical, and budget-friendly are all price ranges that are associated with the nation-wide brand.

If you’re looking to mount an entry level scope on your son’s .22, the Huntmaster 3-9X50 is an excellent optic to start with. For roughly $50, it’s worth it.

But, if you’re more of a long range hunting kinda guy that still doesn’t want to dish out top dollar prices, the AO Varmint will get you there for under $100.

The Huntmaster Pro is another story. It’s still a scope that I’d consider in the entry level department but is outfitted for a little more sass than all other scopes in its competing price range. It has the center-lit illuminated reticle, the all-purpose and versatile 3-12X power range, and fast focus eyepiece.

This would be the pick of the lot if you’re wanting to put down some cash today. If you’re still looking for the Barska name and you’re motivated by ratings, the discontinued Barska Colorado 3-9X40 is another excellent rifle scope that comes in at around $45 online. This one has a lot of reviewers online and is an excellent buy that’s comparable to the Huntmaster 3-9X50.

Buy a Budget-Friendly Barska

Although Barska is in the hunting optics industry, I’d say their strength is better seen in their tactical series of rifle scopes. But, with the cheapest prices that really can’t be beat, it’s definitely worth giving them a shot.

If you’re still not sure about it, you could always mount your rifle with a Barska until you can save enough cash for that lifetime purchase. That should give you more time to do a little research on some mouth drooling rifle scope brands that are on the top of your wish list.

But who knows, by the time you’ve saved enough, your little Barska just might have impressed you enough to keep its cute, little tube body mounted on your rifle or to upgrade within the company. With prices like these, you really don’t have anything to lose. Go ahead, give it a shot.