Not all scopes are built with super high maximum zoom settings. After all, most hunting activities only require scopes within the 1-8x range. Finding an ideal scope for your rifle often depends on narrowing down your choices and filtering out scopes with magnification levels you’ll never actually use.
That’s why we put this guide together. Below, you’ll find the best 1-8x scopes for rifles or hunters of all types, plus some advice to help you locate the best scope on your first try. Let’s get started
What Range is a 1-8x Scope Good For?
A scope with magnification settings between 1x and 8x is an ideal hunting scope for most expeditions and for hunting most kinds of game. Since average hunting situations usually take place between 300 yards and 500 yards, this scope can cover both of those distances and quite some distance below or above them, as well.
Put simply, a scope with these magnification settings will be ideal for hunting below 1000 yards. While it might be possible to get lucky on a shot approaching 1000 yards, it’ll be difficult if not impossible. Instead, scopes with these zoom levels have the ability to keep your target within your sight picture, since they aren’t zoomed in so far as to make tracking a target difficult.
These scopes offer decent fields of view, especially when paired with excellent lenses. All in all, scopes of this type are ideal for most hunters and can also be used for target practice, although their benefits are somewhat wasted on still targets, which can be hit from further away with higher power scopes.
What to Look for in a 1-8x Scope
While practically every scope that can magnify between 1x and 8x is going to be a decent choice for hunters, the rest of a scope’s features can distinguish it from the others and might let you know if it’ll be a good fit for your rifle. Let’s go over the main things to focus on as you browse, so you can distinguish better scopes from poor ones.
You should always consider how durable a given 1-8x scope is overall, as this indicates how long it will last and in what conditions it can be used. As an example, scopes that are waterproof or fog proof are great for hunters that have to pursue their prey in inclement weather or in watery conditions. These scopes are usually great value for money.
You should also see if a given scope has any defensive coatings on its lenses. These special coatings will protect the lenses from being scratched or marred from dirt or debris and may even increase a lens’s ability to transmit more like to your eye. All in all, multicoated lenses are far superior to regular lenses. Naturally, the scopes below are durable and have excellent lenses to set them above most other scopes on the market.
What is eye relief? Basically, it’s the maximum distance at which your eye can rest and still see the entire picture provided by the scope. The farther this distance, the more your eyes are protected from possibly being bruised when a rifle kicks due to recoil.
As you might imagine, rifles that have a lot of recoil must be paired with scopes that have a generous amount of eye relief. You’ll probably want something with 3 to 4 inches or so. Rifles that don’t have a lot of kick can work with smaller amounts of eye relief, however.
There isn’t a single amount of eye relief that’s perfect for every rifleman, so we provided scopes with variable amounts of eye relief. This way, you can choose the scope that’s perfect for the rifle you plan to use it with.
First or Second Focal Plane?
Scopes with 1x-8x zoom and beyond will have reticles positioned on either the first or second focal plane. This describes where the reticle is positioned within the scope tube.
Reticles on the first focal plane will slightly change size as you switch between magnification settings. They’ll become larger as you zoom in and smaller as you zoom out. The advantage of this process is that the holdover or estimation hash marks included on the reticle will stay accurate relative to your target. This can make adjusting for various conditions easier, especially when it comes to hitting distant targets.
Second focal plane reticles do not change size as you swap between zoom levels. This makes it very easy to get used to the reticle, although it does require that you estimate the real effects of windage or elevation since the holdover points are only truly accurate for one magnification setting, which is usually determined in the manual or instructions that come with a given scope.
Overall, FFP or SFP reticles can both be effective under the right circumstances and in the right hands. We provided scopes with both types of reticles below so you can choose which you buy based on your preferences or experience.
The 5 Best 1-8x Scopes
1. Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-8×24 Second Focal Plane Riflescope
Vortex is known to make top-tier scopes for all magnification ranges, and this 1-8x zoom scope showcases their expertise. It features a second focal plane reticle that’s perfect for switching between the variables zoom settings, with 1x being perfect for quick target acquisition in close quarters and 8x being ideal for more distant hunting.
It features high-quality and multicoated lenses that deliver a clear sight picture and offer optimal low light performance. Furthermore, this scope provides you with plenty of eye relief and a fast-focus dial on the eyepiece. This dial enables you to focus sharply on your target in an instant.
A waterproof and fog proof body adds even more value to this scope as a whole.
This scope features a detailed BDC reticle that’s been etched onto the glass and which features 11 illumination settings. Not only can you use the bullet drop compensation holdover points to account for gravity’s impact on your next shot, but you can also take shots in low light conditions thanks to the illumination feature. Even better, you can store an extra battery for this feature in the windage cap.
- BDC reticle is effective
- The reticle can be illuminated
- Very durable overall
- Lenses are multi-coated to improve light transmission
- The eyepiece provides fast focusing
- No included parallax adjustment turret
The Final Verdict
All in all, this scope offers a superb effective range and is a perfect choice for hunters that spend their time in various weather and environmental conditions. The BDC reticle and its illumination capabilities mark this as a perfect complement to any hunter that stalks prey during the dusk or dawn hours, as well.
See the full Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24 review.
2. Primary Arms 1-8x24mm SFP Riflescope
If you want a relatively short to midrange scope, you’d do well to check out Primary Arms’ SFP model here. This scope comes with a 24 mm objective lens and a host of other quality features to make it worth your while.
For instance, it’s both waterproof and fog-resistant, so it’s perfect for taking into the field or for extending hunting trips. It’s also designed to be user friendly since it features capped windage and elevation turrets that audibly click with each adjustment you make.
The scope only weighs about a pound and is made primarily of lightweight but durable aircraft-grade aluminum. Lens caps come with the purchase to further boost its value for money.
Of particular value is the illuminated reticle that comes with the scope by default. It’s a second focal plane variety but you can choose between three different reticle types: ACSS 5.56, 5.45, or .308. Regardless, each reticle comes with BDC or bullet drop compensating hashmarks on the bottom vertex.
These allow you to compensate for bullet drop at a distance. It’s a feature that’s most useful when combined with the optic’s higher magnification powers, but it’s a great touch no matter what.
But the reticle can also be illuminated in red. You’ll be able to swap between 12 different brightness settings using a dedicated control on the optic’s side. As a result, you can rely on this for both bright daytime and nighttime shooting alike. Add to that a limited lifetime warranty and it’s easy to see why this Primary Arms SFP riflescope is a top choice for those in need of a 1-8x optic.
- Comes with capped windage, elevation, and illumination adjustment turrets
- Has an illuminated reticle
- Good eye relief
- BDC reticle hashmarks included
- Relatively durable and long-lasting
- Battery life could be a little better
- No parallax adjuster dials
The Final Verdict
Primary Arms’ SFP riflescope has very few downsides in exchange for high-quality construction and great features overall. It’s a phenomenal choice as a relatively close to midrange optic for a variety of rifles.
This scope can perfectly fit rounds like the .223 Remington.
3. Bushnell 1-8×24 AR Optics Ill BTR-2
You can’t get much better with relatively short-range scopes than this AR Optics II scope from Bushnell. It features a 24 mm objective lens and fully multicoated lenses that can provide optimal light transmission for any shooting experience.
Even better, the scope comes with a special throwdown lever you can use to customize the scope’s mount between two different heights. This makes it an ideal scope for use with multiple rifles over the course of your hunting career.
Additional benefits also make it worth your while. For instance, the scope comes with windage and elevation adjustment turrets. These offer audible and tactile feedback every time you make an adjustment, so compensating for these variables while you are sighted-in to your target is easy and simple.
But you’ll also want to consider this scope thanks to the BDC, or bullet drop compensating, reticle. This means the reticle includes additional vertical holdover points that you can use to estimate for bullet drop at a distance. It’s not as useful as it otherwise might be, considering that the scope only goes up to 8x magnification, but it’s still a nice thing to have overall.
Plus, the reticle can be illuminated to help you pick it out in low light environments. Talk about value!
- Comes with an illuminated BDC reticle – this can help with bullet drop at longer distances or in low light environments
- Made to withstand inclement weather
- Can be mounted at two different heights depending on your needs
- Features tactile and adjustable windage and elevation turrets
- BDC reticle isn’t as valuable as it would be with a longer-range scope
The Final Verdict
This affordable and versatile scope is a great 1-8x optic for regular hunters and target shooters and can work with a variety of firearms due to its two mounting height options.
4. Leapers Inc, UTG 1-8x28mm 30mm MRC Scope
This Leapers scope is a phenomenal choice in terms of value for money. It features a 30 mm objective lens and several mounting accessories that allow you to easily set it up on a wide variety of rifle types. This scope has ring block targeting turrets for windage and elevation adjustments; these can be easily zeroed with the touch of your finger.
The lenses installed in the scope are also some of the best we’ve seen. They feature Emerald coatings that boost their maximum light transmission and improve the scope’s sight picture quality beyond what it already manages.
EZ-TAP IE Illumination
This scope is designed for working in difficult or dark conditions. You can easily eliminate its glass-etched reticle at the touch of a button, and swap between 36 different color options that afford you perfect reticle visibility in practically any environment. It also features a high-tech memory function; this remembers the last color and brightness setting you used it, so the scope will stay set up just the way you like it even if you store it for some time between uses.
- The reticle has lots of illumination settings
- Illumination settings are remembered by the scope
- Lenses are coated to improve light transmission
- Turrets can be easily zeroed
- 1x power has a little distortion
The Final Verdict
All in all, this scope has excellent lenses that provide quality light transmission. These improve the exceptional reticle even further, although its easy-to-activate illumination feature is the main draw. For the affordable asking price, you’d be hard-pressed to find another 1x-8x scope that’s as good as this model.
5. Leupold Mark 8 CQBSS 1.1-8x24mm Riflescope
The Mark 8 from Leupold is another great model, also featuring a 24 mm objective lens. Like the last, this also comes with an illuminated reticle that you can utilize for additional accuracy in lowlight environments. It also comes bolstered with multicoated lenses and a first focal plane reticle design. This means the reticle’s holdover points will slightly shift as you switch between magnification powers.
But that’s not all. This fantastic scope comes with superior durability coatings for the exterior so you can be sure it’ll last for a long time to come. More important is the lockable and fast focus eyepiece that will allow you to maintain a secure reticle focus at all times. Combine this with a high recoil weapon and you’ll see what we mean.
Then there are the auto-locking turrets for windage and elevation. These are fantastic additions to the scope and will only unlock when you securely grip either of them. This prevents you from accidentally making windage or elevation adjustment by bumping either dial with your fingers or elbow.
- Features lockable windage and elevation adjustment turrets – they only unlock when you pinch them securely
- Made with durable coatings to keep out water, fog, dirt, and oil
- Made with an illuminated reticle and multicoated lenses
- Features a fast-focus eyepiece that can lock into place for additional security
- Very expensive compared to other scopes
The Final Verdict
All in all, this is a high-quality, if pricey, scope that comes with tons of included features and innovative advancements that make it well worth your time and money. Pick this up if you want the best of the best and price is no object.
Concluding our 1-8x Scopes Guide
Ultimately, the ideal 1-8x scope for your needs will balance budget, features, and durability. Remember to pick a scope that has a reticle on your ideal plane – first or second – and you’ll enjoy it for a long time to come. Good hunting!
Want a fixed scope? Check our SWFA SS 10×42 review.