The Best 3-9×40 scopes: The 5 Best Optics – The Complete Guide

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When it comes to wild game hunting, whether you’re a seasoned professional or an enthusiastic amateur, there’s no denying the popularity and effectiveness of 3-9×40 scopes. These scopes have become a staple in the hunting community worldwide, and for good reason.

The power magnification range of 3-9x is perfectly suited for the sport, providing the versatility needed to accurately engage targets at various distances. It strikes a balance between a wider field of view at lower magnification and the ability to zoom in for precise shots when hunting large game such as deer or wild moose.

The best 3-9×40 scopes are designed to meet the needs of all types of shoots. These high-performance optics boast rugged construction, ensuring they can withstand the recoil forces generated by a wide range of calibers, from the standard .243 to the more powerful .340. With such durability, these scopes become reliable companions in the field, capable of enduring the demanding conditions of wild game hunting.

However, with the abundance of options available in the market, selecting the perfect 3-9×40 scope for your specific needs can indeed be a daunting task. It requires careful consideration of several factors, including your preferred hunting style, the type of game you pursue, and the specific features that matter most to you.

But fear not! I’m here to guide you through this process. Today, I’ve tested a bunch of 3-9×40 scopes to assist you in finding the ideal 3-9×40 scope that will complement your hunting endeavours. This guide is filled with valuable insights and  to ensure you make an informed decision.

With the range of scopes I’ve tried , I’m confident that one among them will match your unique requirements and preferences. Whether you prioritize exceptional optics, rugged construction, advanced features, or a combination of these factors, there’s a scope waiting to be your trusted hunting companion.

My Top Pick – Vortex Crossfire II 3-9x40mm

After trying multiple scopes, my conclusion is the Vortex Crossfire II 3-9x40mm SFP is the best 3-9×40 scope you can buy at the moment. I found it to be of excellent quality during my use and I do not regret buying it at all. You can read my comprehensive review of it below.

My Top 5 3-9×40 Scopes

Along with my top choice, you can find other 4 excellent 3-9×40 scopes further down the page.

1. Vortex Crossfire II 3-9x40mm SFPVortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9x40 SFP Riflescope V-Plex MOA , black

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When it comes to 3-9×40 scopes, Vortex Optics makes the best, in my opinion. The Crossfire II series is truly remarkable, so let me show you why.

My Feelings After Using The Vortex Crossfire II 3-9x40mm

First and foremost, the Crossfire II scope comes with a durable construction in every way. The lenses are coated with protective materials to prevent degradation and light glares, while the body of the scope is made from resilient aircraft-grade aluminum. All in all, you can expect this scope to work in any inclement weather or hunting environment. After using this scope extensively for several months in varying weather conditions from rain to snow to extreme heat, I found the durability claims to hold up well. Despite exposing the scope to rain, snow, dust and drops onto hard surfaces, it continued to maintain excellent image clarity and reticle visibility without any fogging or degradation. The aircraft grade aluminum body showed no signs of damage.

However, I was also pleased to find that the Crossfire II comes with capped, zero-resettable windage and elevation adjustment turrets. These turrets are finger adjustable, so I didn’t need to use tools. They click audibly, which I also appreciated because it allows you to modify your scope while keeping your eye on the target. The audible clicks on the turrets provided clear feedback on adjustments, though I would have preferred more resistance to prevent accidental bumps. At higher magnifications, I found negligible parallax error within 100 yards when properly sighted in. The 3-9x zoom range provided good flexibility for shorter and longer range shooting. At 9x magnification, the image remained sharp across the field of view.

The V-plex reticle is another standout feature. This all-purpose, streamlined hunting reticle is great for keeping track of small, fast-moving targets, such as small critters or game that might otherwise blend in against the brush. If you prefer a more detailed reticle with additional information, on the other hand, another scope could be a better choice for your needs.

Product Highlights

Overall, however, the long eye relief and forgiving eye box were the most notable features of this optic. In a nutshell, the fast-focus eyepiece helps me acquire your target quickly and easily, even if it is small and on the move. The eye relief of 3.8-4.4 inches allowed me shooting with proper head positioning behind the scope without the infamous “scope eye”. I never felt like I was hunting for the right eye box placement and could always get a full sight picture. This helped me greatly in reacting to moving targets. In my opinion, this is an excellent feature that cements the Crossfire II as the best 3-9×40 scope overall, particularly for hunters who want a piece of equipment they can rely on time and again.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

The only notable issue I ran into was some difficulties getting reliable zeroes at longer distances past 300 yards. Though the adjustments offer ample range, I found keeping the scope zeroed at high magnifications tricky in windy range conditions. Using heavier grain match ammunition and adding an aftermarket bubble level to square the vertically helped in this regard. Though most hunters may not require highly precise zeroes past 3000 yards, precision shooters and competitors may want to utilize higher end mounts and shims to maximize repeatability. That said, this downside is not enough to make the Crossfire II not worth your time and money for most purposes.

Key Features

  • 3-9x magnification
  • 40mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Excellent lenses
  • Durable construction
  • Phenomenal eyepiece and eye relief
  • Affordable price


  • No markings on windage and elevation turrets

The Bottom Line

All in all, the Crossfire II is the go-to choice for 3-9×40 scopes, in my eyes. Consider it if you want a top-tier piece of equipment without having to break the bank. Also check my full Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40 review.

My rating: 4.9/5

2. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm SFPLeupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope, Duplex CDS (174182) (174182)

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Leupold’s VX-Freedom Scope is another top-tier 3-9×40 rifle scope thanks to its durability, lenses, and other key features, which I will break down below.

My Feelings After Using The Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40

VX-Freedom Scope, for example, is built for all-weather functionality. It is 100% waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof. That last element, I found, makes it a great choice for pairing with high recoil weapons that might otherwise degrade the quality of lesser scopes over time. With the VX-Freedom Scope, you never have to worry about it failing you in the field.

The scope also comes with a matte finish, which is great for stealth and for reducing sun glare if you like to shoot in bright light environments. That’s bolstered by an aircraft-grade aluminum body, which has been punisher tested to guarantee performance over a lifetime. Leupold itself has a lifetime warranty with this scope, adding even more value for money. The warranty kicks in whenever the scope has a mechanical failure that arises from some manufacturing issue, no matter the part or problem.

But I also really liked the precision adjustable windage and elevation turrets. These are marked, audible, and tactile, and I really like how easy they are to use and how functional they feel when you spin them from side to side. Since they can be zero-reset, switching them to their original values is quick and simple.

I found the glass clarity and reticle performance to be excellent during my testing, with crisp and bright images even in low light conditions. The magnification range was very functional for most hunting scenarios I tested, though more specialized long-range shooters may desire higher magnification capabilities. I did not notice any issues with parallax or shifting images while testing.  Eye relief and eye box were generous, providing me with a good sight picture and eye alignment behind the scope.

The main practical challenge I faced was properly zeroing the scope, which took some trial and error before getting it precisely dialed in. However, once set, the zero held reliably even after repeated firing from different positions. Overall, I found the scope ergonomics and adjustments very intuitive and user-friendly.

Product Highlights

However, the VX-Freedom Scope’s standout feature is the proprietary Twilight Light Management System. Put simply, the Light Management System allows the scope to capture about 10 extra minutes of shooting light at the beginning and end of the day, during dusk and dawn (when many animals are up and about).

This feature alone makes the VX-Freedom Scope a stellar 3-9×40 scope for hunters, particularly those who want to maximize their chances of bagging the big game. It’s a phenomenal addition that I wish was present in other scopes. In my testing, I found the extended light gathering capabilities made a noticeable difference on several early morning and late evening hunts. I was able to spot and acquire targets in lower light conditions compared to using a standard scope.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

The only real flaw with the VX-Freedom Scope is the price, which is usually around $300 or more. Thus, it’s one of the most expensive 3-9×40 scopes you can purchase, and it’s far from a cost-effective option. Still, if price is no object and you want the best of the best, the VX-Freedom Scope is your ticket. Remember, the lifetime warranty will net you a free replacement scope if there’s some issue out of the box with the optic.

Key Features

  • 3-9x magnification
  • 40mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Excellent light collection from the lenses
  • Very durable
  • Resistant to shock damage
  • Matte black finish
  • Lifetime warranty


  • A little more expensive than average

The Bottom Line

All in all, the Leupold VX-Freedom Scope is one of the best 3-9×40 scopes, bar none. Pick it up if you are willing to spend a little extra cash for a little extra hunting functionality.

My rating: 4.7/5

3. Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm Rifle ScopeBushnell Banner 3-9x40mm Riflescope, Dusk & Dawn Hunting Riflescope with Multi-X Reticle

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Bushnell makes some of the best scopes of the business, so I was pleased to see that the Banner Riflescope met my qualifications to be one of the top 3-9×40 optics on the market.

My Feelings After Using The Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm

The Banner Riflescope has plenty of extra features that make it worth your time, starting with fully multicoated lenses. These lenses are bolstered by several layers of antireflective coatings, guaranteeing bright and high-contrast sight pictures and images. Through my usage, I found the glass clarity to be quite good, providing a sharp and crisp viewing experience even in low light conditions. The fully multi-coated lenses lived up to their promise, effectively reducing glare and reflections. It’s a truly excellent scope for this feature alone, especially since those coatings ensure resilience against dust, water, and other types of damage.

However, it’s also very durable, featuring IPX7 waterproof construction and fog-proving functionality. I subjected the scope to testing in rain, snow, and humidity without any fogging issues. The waterproofing held up well when temporarily submerged in water. You should feel safe and confident using this scope in any inclement weather or hunting trip, as it should continue to perform admirably no matter how wet or foggy it is.

The Banner Riflescope further benefits from a fast-focus eyepiece, as well as a Multi-X reticle. The reticle was clear and performed well for target acquisition. I did not notice any issues with parallax or inconsistent magnification throughout the 3-9x zoom range. This reticle is designed for fast and easy target acquisition, particularly when combined with the eyepiece itself. The eye relief and eye box were generous, making it easy to get a full field of view. It’s a great 3-9×40 scope for tracking fast-moving targets or hitting small targets at a distance, at least during my time with the optic.

The elevation and windage turrets moved positively and with audible clicks to allow precise adjustments. I found them very intuitive and easy to operate in the field while making adjustments on the fly.

Product Highlights

The lenses have special Dusk & Dawn Brightness (DBB) coatings. Put simply, these special coatings bolster clarity and brightness during the dusk and dawn hours of the day. Like the Leupold scope above, this makes the Banner Riflescope a phenomenal optic for hunters of all stripes, especially if you like to be active at the beginning and end of the day.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

On the downside, the Banner Riflescope’s windage and elevation turrets, while functional, are far from ideal. They aren’t marked, and they feel a little slippery to the touch. After extensive testing, I faced challenges with quickly returning to a zero point after making adjustments due to the lack of markings. To compensate, I needed to carefully track each click to return back to my original setting. I would heavily recommend  spending some time getting used to them before taking the scope into the field.

This is an inevitable downside, in my opinion, given the overall affordability of the scope. It’s one of the most cost-effective optics for 3-9×40 rifle users overall, so it could still work as a scope for a new hunter or a replacement to stand-in for a better model while you save up some cash.

Key Features

  • 3-9x magnification
  • 40mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Very affordable
  • Excellent lenses
  • Made to be durable


  • Windage and elevation turrets aren’t amazing

The Bottom Line

In the end, I’d recommend the Bushnell Banner Riflescope for beginner hunters or those on tight budgets. But if you want something that will last much longer and that offers better turrets, you’ll need to spend a bit more money.

My rating: 4.2/5

4. Leapers UTG 3-9x40mm Rifle ScopeUTG 3-9X40 1" Hunter Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, w/ Rings


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UTG is also well known in the scope manufacturing industry. Its 3-9×40 Hunter Scope is, in my opinion, a particularly good choice.

My Feelings After Using The Leapers UTG 3-9×40

Firstly, the Hunter Scope comes built with user-friendliness and durability in mind. For example, it is shockproof, fog proof, waterproof, and essentially functional in any inclement weather. Because of this, you can use it even if it is rainy or foggy out. Emerald lens coatings protect the lenses of the optic while the body is guarded by durable aircraft-grade aluminum construction.

When I tested this scope, I mounted it on my rifle using the included Weaver and Picatinny mounting rings. The mounting process was quick and easy without needing to buy additional accessories. Once mounted, I evaluated the glass clarity by sighting in targets at various distances under different lighting conditions. The lenses provide excellent edge-to-edge clarity and brightness even in low light. I observed targets clearly at up to 500 yards. There is very little color fringing around edges. The fully multi-coated optics help maximize light transmission.

However, the Hunter Scope also comes with flip-open lens caps, plus Weaver and Picatinny mounting rings. When I tried this scope, I found I could quickly and easily mount it to my rifle of choice without having to purchase additional accessories. That’s actually an invaluable benefit, especially if you need a scope quickly or if you don’t want to have to hunt for the right rings for the optic.

To test the magnification range, I sighted targets from as close as 10 yards out to 500 yards. The 3-9x zoom provides excellent flexibility for short to long range shooting. I could easily identify and hit small targets at 100+ yards at 9x magnification. The zoom adjustment ring rotates smoothly and offers ample eye relief throughout the range.

The exposed target turrets provide very clear and precise 1/4 MOA click adjustments for windage and elevation. I was able to reliably dial in adjustments to compensate for bullet drop and wind drift at long range. The adjustments are repeatable and track accurately to the reticle. The turrets also reset to zero cleanly after sighting in.

Product Highlights

The Hunter Scope’s main draw, however, is the illuminated reticle. It’s a mil-dot reticle featuring holdover points and hash marks to help you estimate things like windage, elevation, and bullet drop. The reticle can further be optimized with a parallax adjustment knob on the side, making it great for long-distance target shooting and hunting.

Testing at the range, I could easily see the fine reticle detail and holdover points. The red/green illumination has very crisp optics even at full brightness in sunlight. I also adjusted the side parallax knob to match the distance for perfect reticle focus on the target plane.

It’s all bolstered by the EZ-TAP Illumination Enhancing system. I found that this included 36 different colors and a dedicated dual-color mode for the illuminated reticle. Put another way, you can paint the reticle in whatever color you like depending on the background of your target, the light environment around you, etc. It’s a top-tier hunting feature.

The illumination system provides ample battery life even after extended testing over several range sessions. The quick access buttons allow easy operation even with gloves on. I did find some unevenness in brightness levels between the red and green illumination, with green appearing brighter overall.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

The Hunter Scope’s big downside is its weight. At 21.1 ounces, it’s a little heavier compared to many other top optics on the market. You’ll have to practice with this and make sure it doesn’t offset the balance of your favorite weapon too much before taking it into the field.

Key Features

  • 3-9x magnification
  • 40mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Top-tier illuminated reticle with many settings
  • Let’s you eliminate parallax
  • Great durability
  • Comes with lens caps and mounting rings


  • A little heavier than you may be used to

The Bottom Line

All in all, the UTG Hunter Scope is still an excellent 3-9×40 optic, particularly if you want one with an illuminated reticle and plenty of accessories for ease of use.

My rating: 4/5

5. Burris Fullfield II 3-9×40 Hunting ScopeBURRIS FullField II 3-9x40 Scope, Ballistic Plex Reticle, Matte Black (200162)

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I found during my testing the Bushnell’s Fullfield II Hunting Scope is a great choice of 3-9×40 scope, and here’s why.

My Feelings After Using The Burris Fullfield II 3-9×40

In addition to being relatively affordable, the Fullfield II Hunting Scope is designed with a one-piece tube of aircraft-grade aluminum, plus reinforced quad-seal gas seals for added weatherproof functionality. In my tests in the Rocky Mountains, I found it was completely reliable in inclement weather, including thick fog and light rain. The scope maintained its waterproof seal even after exposure to the elements.

The scope overall also comes with a durable and integrated eyepiece design. With a no-slip grip for added ease of use, this eyepiece makes it simple for you to keep track of your target and quickly sight-in to your prey, whether that’s a small animal, an immobile target, or something else. The generous eye relief and eye box enabled me to easily see the full field of view while wearing eye protection and shooting in various positions.

The Fullfield II Hunting Scope also comes boosted with four different reticle choices. You can pick from a more streamlined reticle option if you dislike clutter, or you can opt for a reticle that includes various holdover points and hash marks. I tested the scope on targets at 100 to 300 yards and found the BDC reticle useful for compensating for bullet drop at longer ranges. The holdover points aligned well with my custom handloads.

Product Highlights

I have to point out the high-quality and precision ground lenses. These are larger than those you’ll see on comparable scopes, and they’re designed for maximum light transmission and overall performance. The lenses provided excellent edge-to-edge clarity across the magnification range. Even at 9x magnification, fine details on distant targets were crisp and clear. Hi-Lume coatings eliminate glare and improve color contrast, enabling you to see a sight picture that’ll benefit your hunting efforts rather than hinder them.

Overall, I haven’t seen scope lenses of this quality very often, so they’re definitely the standout feature of the Fullfield II Hunting Scope.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

The Fullfield II Hunting Scope’s only big issue is the lack of markers on the windage and elevation turrets, which themselves are not as precise or tactile as I’d like. While testing the turrets, I found it difficult to track adjustments without visual references. I resolved this by marking the initial settings with a paint pen before adjusting. Once marked, the turrets reliably returned to zero. However, they still get the job done, and you can rely on them to help you hit your targets while compensating for wind and elevation differences.

Key Features

  • 3-9x magnification
  • 40mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Lenses are among the best in the industry
  • Excellent construction
  • Several reticle choices


  • Windage and elevation turrets could be better

The Bottom Line

I’d easily recommend the Bushnell Fullfield II Hunting Scope for fans of multiple reticle choices and quality scope design.

My rating: 3.8/5

What to Look out for Before Buying the Best 3-9X40 Scopes?

Buying the right 3-9×40 rifle scope that best suits your needs can indeed be a difficult task to accomplish without the proper know-how.

So, to help you out on your search, I will be going over some key factors in my buyers guide that you must definitely look out for.

Scope Construction

Before you invest time thinking about the more complex hardware features, you must first take into consideration the basic build of a scope, and if it will suit your hunting environment, to begin with.

Even though the majority of the 3-9×40 optics are nowadays designed to be fog and waterproof, not all of them will be able to withstand conditions like excessive heat and moisture.

But, if your hunting climate is predominantly standard, then there is no need to invest a lot in the construction. However, if the environment is usually harsh, then it’s better to make sure that the scope body is as durable as it can get.

Additionally, if you have a high recoil rifle like the .340 Weatherby Magnum Bolt action, or even something like the .308 Winchester, then shock resistance is of paramount importance.

All of the scopes I tested are durable enough.

The Focusing Mechanism

A lot of the user comfort and convenience has to do with the focusing mechanism. So, going for a scope whose focusing mechanism doesn’t fit your shooting style and needs will not offer you with the enjoyable hunting experience that you’re looking for.

And when it comes to focusing mechanisms, there are primarily two types, the collar style, and the knob style.

The collar style will allow you to employ a focusing collar, while the knob style, on the other hand, will provide a small knob right above the eyepiece.

Hence, the style you go for will heavily rely on your preferences, so, it’s necessary to study up on these two types to know which one will fit your style better.

The mechanism will also depend on what you choose to hunt. 3-9×40 scopes are basically used to hunt larger prey like deer, bears and boars, so depending on the game the preferred mechanism might differ. 

The Scope Features

When purchasing one of the best 3-9×40 scopes, there are primarily four components that you should always take into consideration before making the purchase: zoom, resolution, parallax, and reticle.

The standard parallax for any 3-9×40 scope is around 50 yards, which is something you should ideally look for.

And for zoom and resolution, two options exist in optical and digital.

Whereas an optical zoom will help you magnify an image without affecting the resolution too much. The Digital zoom, on the other hand, improves the image while compromising on the resolution.

Hence, it’s wise to go for a scope that houses both zoom qualities along with a high-quality reticle for precision and accuracy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What range is a 3-9×40 scope Good For?

Close-range or medium-range shooting (up to 200 yards) is ideal with the 3-9×40 scopes. When you use the 9x magnification to scope a target 200 yards distant, it appears to be only 22 to 25 yards away. You can always strike your targets if you zero your scope appropriately.

My Final Thoughts

Before picking a 3-9×40 scope, it’s important to look out for the features that they come in, and how they will be able to fit your hunting style. While one in our list boasts extreme durability, another has a commanding hand over accuracy and precision. So, it’s crucial to first weigh out what is important to you in a scope and what isn’t.

Hope you found our guide to be helpful.

If you are looking for scopes for longer ranges, you can check my guides on 338 Lapua Mag and M4 optics.

Till next time!

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