Best 1-8x Scope – The 5 Top Optics in 2020

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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.

Durability

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.


Eye Relief

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.

If you are a fan of variable scopes, also check our guides on 1-4x optics and 1-6x optics.


The 5 Best 1-8x Scopes


1. Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-8×24 Second Focal Plane Riflescope Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-8x24 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - BDC2 Reticle (MOA)

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.

BDC Reticle

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.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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. Trijicon AccuPower 1-8×28 RiflescopeTrijicon AccuPower 1-8x28 Riflescope Red LED MOA Segmented-Circle Crosshair and 34mm Tube

Trijicon offers this high-quality 1-8x scope that’s well worth the asking price. It features a first focal plane reticle that’s easy to see across all of its accompanying magnification ranges. This is bolstered thanks to the multicoated lenses that bring extra clarity and better light transmission to your sight picture, as well as providing a sight picture with no distortion at the edges.

The scope is made with aircraft-grade aluminum and features rugged construction that can protect the inner workings of the scope from all kinds of inclement weather. As such, it’s a perfect scope for taking on harsh hunting expeditions.

The windage and elevation adjustment dials are similarly durable and feature tactile clicking sounds with each increment they are shifted.

Illuminated Reticle

This scope’s reticle is an illuminated red LED MOA circle crosshair, allowing excellent visibility even in low light conditions. This reticle is powered by an effective lithium battery that will last for hours before needing to be recharged or replaced. The red color is particularly superb for shooting during dusk as the light wanes across the landscape. 

Pros:

  • Turrets are tactile and satisfying
  • Reticle glows red
  • Lenses are multicoated and transmit light effectively
  • Lithium battery lasts for a long time

Cons:

  • Reticle LED glow is not effective during daylight hours

The Final Verdict

This effective scope offers excellent versatility and performance across all of its magnification settings. Its reticle is easy to see at any zoom level and is perfect for taking both close range and long-distance shots alike. Its durability and tactile turrets are among the best on the market, as well.

This scope can perfectly fit rounds like the .223 Remington.


3. Primary Arms SLX 1-8x24mm SFP Rifle ScopePrimary Arms SLX 1-8x24mm SFP Rifle Scope - Illuminated ACSS-5.56/5.45/.308

Primary Arms offers this 1x-8x scope that balances quality and budget at the same time. It features a second focal plane reticle that stays the same size for all levels of magnification, plus multicoated lenses that are adept at collecting extra light rays and resisting abrasion damage.

Furthermore, this scope is made with an aluminum body and has been designed to be both waterproof and fog proof. As a result, it’s perfect for taking on hunting expeditions were things will get dirty or wet. Even better, it’s covered by a lifetime manufacturer warranty that also covers normal wear and tear. This warranty alone is phenomenal value for money and ensures you’ll always have a working scope once you finalize the purchase.

ACSS Reticle

This scope’s reticle is of particular note. It features special BDC holdover points, giving it some extra versatility. Even better, it’s partially illuminated and powered with a great battery that can provide 12 different brightness settings. You can, therefore, customize the reticle to be as bright or dim as you need for your current ambient light situation. 

Pros:

  • Features an accurate, BDC reticle
  • Reticle has several illumination settings
  • Covered by lifetime warranty
  • Very durable design

Cons:

  • Slight haze at 8x power
  • BDC points are only perfectly accurate at high power

The Final Verdict

Overall, this scope is a perfect choice for hunters that are looking for a detailed reticle that can provide them with the information they need to land a long-distance shot. But it’s also a great scope thanks to its excellent durability and its reticle illumination which allows it to adequately function in low light.


4. Leapers Inc, UTG 1-8x28mm 30mm MRC ScopeLeapers Inc, UTG 1-8x28mm 30mm MRC Scope, IE, BG4 Reticle, with ACCU-SYNC, Black

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.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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. Burris 201018 XTR 1-8x Scope, 34mm Tube Burris 201018 XTR Iix 40mm, 1-8x34mm, 34mm Tube, Ballistic Circle Dot Reticle, Black

Burris proves why it has a reputation as one of the best scope manufacturers in the business with this model. It features a 24 mm objective lens and your choice of either first focal plane or second focal plane reticle depending on your preferences. Switching between different magnification settings is quite easy, and the magnification ring is stiff enough that you won’t accidentally switch zoom levels by accident.

It features some of the most tactile and satisfying adjustment turrets we discovered in our search for the best scopes. These offer zero stop functionality to allow for easy resets and adjustments. The lenses afford an excellent amount of clarity at all levels of magnification.

Illumination Options

Like many of the best 1-8x scopes, this model offers an illuminated reticle with several different settings. You can adjust the power of the illumination depending on your ambient light levels or personal preferences. In general, it’s a perfect choice for use during nighttime or early morning shooting.

Pros:

  • Very accurate holdover points
  • Turrets adjust well and can zero
  • Many illumination settings for reticle
  • Durable body and design

Cons:

  • Max brightness isn’t good for daylight shooting

The Final Verdict

In the end, we have to give this Burris scope a thumbs up. It offers a phenomenal sight picture and excellent adjustability combined with a durable body. The illuminated reticle is effective and affords you versatility by letting you hunt with accuracy during more hours of the day.


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.