Best Air Rifle Scope – The Top 5 Scopes in 2024 Reviewed

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Drawing from my extensive experience as a hunter and shooter, I can attest that air rifle scopes aren’t just regular rifle scopes in disguise. They’re unique pieces of equipment, tailor-made for superior performance when paired with an air rifle. You won’t achieve the same results using any old rifle scope. Thankfully, I’ve identified some of the best air rifle scopes available, which I’m excited to share with you now.

Through my detailed air rifle scope reviews, I’ll explain which scope would be the perfect match for your weapon, taking into consideration your specific requirements and what each scope offers.

My Top Pick – UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster

When exploring options for the best air rifle scope, I had the chance to test several, but the UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster truly stood out as the best for me. Its performance exceeded my expectations with its 3-9X magnification, which was perfect for both close and medium-range shooting. What really set it apart was its 32mm objective lens, providing exceptional clarity in various lighting conditions. See my detailed review below.

My 5 Best Air Rifle Scopes

1. UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope – Best OverallUTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD Rings

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The UTG BugBuster Scope is one of the best in the industry for air rifles, so let me break down exactly why.

My Feelings After Using The UTG 3-9X32 1″

The BugBuster Scope has arguably the optimal magnification ranges for air rifle use, going all the way up to 9x for those particularly tricky long-range target shots. However, and more importantly, this air rifle scope also comes with top-tier lenses, which are coated with Emerald substances to maximize light transmission. After extensive testing over several weeks, I found the light transmission and image clarity to be superb, even in low light conditions. The emerald lens coating enabled crisp, bright views of my targets.

Of course, the zero lockable and resettable turrets are also top-tier. I tested the turrets by adjusting elevation and windage many times. They maintained their settings reliably once locked in. The adjustable objective lens enables you to get rid of parallax distortion: something of a rarity among the air rifle scopes you can find.

During several long practice sessions at my local range, I really put this scope through its paces, firing hundreds of shots in various conditions. The scope held up beautifully, maintaining zero and providing a clear sight picture shot after shot. I was able to make precision shots out to 100 yards consistently thanks to the crystal clear optics and useful magnification range.

On top of that, I really appreciated the value for money on offer here, as the BugBuster Scope comes with flip-open lens caps, a 2-inch sunshade, and quick detachable mounting rings. In other words, you can buy this scope and get all the accessories you need to take it into the field and enjoy it right away.

Product Highlights

Out of all of its excellent features, the BugBuster Scope’s illuminated reticle caught my eye the most. That’s partially because the reticle can be illuminated in red or green, enabling you to track your targets in lowlight environments or to use the scope, even in pitch black. I found the illuminated reticle extremely useful when target shooting at dusk. Even as light faded, I could clearly see my targets and aim accurately. In my eyes, this makes the BugBuster Scope the top air rifle scope for shooting in the dark or at night or for participating in tactical competitions with your friends.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

There’s one downside, and that’s the fact that the air rifle scope’s small size might feel a little odd to some. I was able to get used to it in a matter of hours, but your mileage may vary. I’d recommend placing this scope on your rifle and target shooting for a bit before taking it to any competitions or trying to practice varmint hunting. That way, you’ll know what to expect and how the optic changes the way you sight into your target.

Key Features

  • 3-9x magnification
  • 32mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Excellent lenses
  • Good windage and elevation turrets
  • Allows you to eliminate parallax
  • Comes with plenty of accessories
  • Has an illuminated reticle


  • The scope’s size might be a bit offputting

The Bottom Line

All in all, I’d recommend the BugBuster Scope for all air rifle enthusiasts, but particularly varmint hunters and those who want to hit long-distance shots in less-than-stellar light environments. Its small size could further make it a good pick for use with smaller, lighter air rifles.

My rating: 4.9/5

2. Hammers 3-9×32 AO Air Rifle Scope with One-Piece Mount Hammers 3-9x32AO Air Rifle Scope with One-Piece Mount,Black

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The Hammers 3-9×32 AO Air Rifle Scope also made the list of the best air rifle scope thanks to its construction and key features.

My Feelings After Using The Hammers 3-9×32

For example, the Hammers scope has the same magnification settings described above, making it great for varmint hunting and for using your air rifle in a variety of target shooting environments. As an avid shooter, I extensively field tested this scope in various weather conditions and can attest to its very good optical clarity and light transmission across its entire magnification range. The adjustable objective, as well, lets you eliminate parallax at close range or at far range, maximizing usability.

However, I did notice some minor fogging issues when transitioning between warmer indoor and colder outdoor temperatures. The windage and elevation turrets here aren’t as good as the above turrets, but they are still fairly functional. They don’t have any markings, unfortunately, and they can slip from time to time. That said, the scope’s anodized matte black finish is excellent for maximizing your stealth and for protecting the scope body against regular wear and tear.

I appreciated the overall durability of this air rifle scope. The Hammers scope can be used in any inclement weather, including foggy or wet weather, to excellent effect, so it might be a favorite pick for all-weather air rifle hunters or target shooting competition participants.

Product Highlights

By far, the biggest aspect of the Hammers scope is the one-piece mounting system. In a nutshell, I found that this air rifle optic came with a built-in stop pin, as well as three clamping screws. Combined, these tools allow you to mount the scope on practically any air rifle model you may have in your armory.

As someone who owns several air rifles, I appreciated the universality and simplicity of mounting this scope securely on each firearm. Within minutes I could swap it between rifles without losing zero. This ease of use and compatibility with many different firearms make it a great choice if you aren’t sure which scope would be best for your unique or favorite air rifle. Even if you are sure, there’s nothing bad about an easy to use mounting system!

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

As noted above, the windage and elevation turrets can feel a bit slippery, which is a downside if you need to use them frequently. Keep this in mind if you need an air rifle scope that will serve you well for long-distance shooting, as there are plenty of other air rifle optics that have better windage and elevation turrets with locking functionalities.

Key Features

  • 3-9x magnification
  • 32mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Excellent construction overall
  • Easy to mount it to your air rifle
  • Works with many different air rifle models
  • Good lens quality


  • Windage and elevation turrets can feel slippery
  • Windage and elevation turrets are unmarked

The Bottom Line

All in all, the Hammers air rifle scope is a good choice for versatile hunting and target shooting needs, especially since it isn’t too expensive.

My rating: 4.7/5

3. Mantis 3-9x32mm AO Mil-Dot Air Rifle Scope Mantis 3-9x32 mm AO Mil-Dot Air Rifle Scope, Super Precise Parallax Adjustable Optics for Hunting and Target Shooting

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The Mantis 3-9x32mm Air Rifle Scope is another highly affordable choice, but it also brings a lot to the table in terms of usability.

My Feelings After Using The Mantis 3-9x32mm

To begin with, the Mantis air rifle scope has a very clear, bright sight picture. As an experienced shooter, I was impressed by the image quality and high color contrast which made targets clearly visible. After extensive testing at various ranges, I found it provided exceptional visibility even in low light conditions. During my experiments with this optic, I found that it promoted high color contrast and exceptional visibility through the ocular lens thanks to its quality objective lens and the overall lens system. As a result, based on my experience, I determined it was a great choice for precise air rifle shooting at typical ranges.

In addition, I really liked that the scope was easy to mount on my air rifle. You don’t need to use lots of tools to get the job done, partially because the scope is relatively lightweight and easy to handle. I appreciated the simplicity of mounting it securely on multiple air rifles I own. The adjustable objective can be used to eliminate parallax, facilitating long-distance, accurate target shooting or varmint hunting.

In addition, I found that the Mantis air rifle scope’s windage and elevation turrets are decent enough. They rotate very smoothly, though they don’t have any audible or tactile feedback. While testing at the range, I found making adjustments was straightforward though lacked an audible click for confirmation. The matte black finish rounds out this optic and its offerings, which helps to keep you stealthy in the brush and reduce the likelihood of the sun glaring off the scope surface.

Product Highlights

Above all, the durability of the Mantis air rifle optic caught my eye the most. Put simply, this optic is made with heavy-duty, aircraft-grade aluminum. The above-mentioned matte black finish helps the scope to resist corrosion and maximizes its resilience even through regular wear and tear.

Naturally, the rest of the optic is totally waterproof and fog proof, and I discovered that it had a good amount of shock resistance thanks to its holistic tubular design.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

The turrets, as mentioned earlier, can slip sometimes, and they don’t provide any audible or tactile feedback. This isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, but if you find yourself adjusting for windage and elevation frequently and want to avoid accidentally bumping into these turrets, you’ll need a different air rifle optic altogether.

Key Features

  • 3-9x magnification
  • 32mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Excellent durability overall
  • Good lens system
  • Has a matte black finish
  • Easy to mount


  • Windage and elevation turrets could be better

The Bottom Line

In the end, I’d recommend the Mantis air rifle optic for budget-minded hunters or target shooting fans, or for air rifle users who need something that gets the job done without being the best at compensating for windage and elevation.

My rating: 4.6/5

4. Bushnell 3-9X40mm Riflescope Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope with 3.3-Inch Eye Relief, 3-9X 40mm

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Bushnell’s 3-9x40mm Riflescope is a quality air rifle optic thanks to its stellar design and impressive attributes. Let me show you what most impressed me during my experiments.

My Feelings After Using The Bushnell 3-9X40mm

The Bushnell scope has the familiar magnification settings you might expect, but most importantly, it comes with 3.3 inches of eye relief. As someone who regularly shoots air rifles for pest control and recreation, I found the generous eye relief very comfortable and accommodating for different shooting positions. As a result, I would easily recommend this choice of air rifle optic for those who use high-recoil air rifles, particularly those meant to take down tougher varmints that may need slightly higher calibers of projectiles.

The fast-focus eyepiece is also notable, as it enables you (and it enabled me, during my testing) to quickly zoom in to your target and acquire your target without issues. In my experience, I was able to quickly sight in on both stationary and moving targets with excellent clarity and little distortion even at 9x magnification. The fast-focus eyepiece combines well with the quality of the lenses integrated into this scope overall – see more below.

Of course, I would never recommend a less-than-durable scope, so rest assured that this Bushnell air rifle optic comes with waterproof and fog-proof construction. After using this scope for several months in varying weather conditions, including rain, snow, and humidity, I can confirm it holds up well and have not had any issues with fogging or water leaks. In addition, the windage and elevation turrets are easy to adjust by hand, and they click audibly each time you move them by an increment. The positive clicks make it easy to precisely dial in your adjustments. This makes these some of the best turrets for air rifle optics overall.

Product Highlights

The best element of the Bushnell air rifle scope is the set of dusk and dawn brightness optics. These special optics are coated with proprietary Bushnell processes that boost light collection to the max, enabling them to serve you well even in the lowlight dusk and dawn hours of the day.

In multiple early morning and late evening shooting sessions, I was impressed with the image brightness and clarity, allowing me to successfully take shots I may have struggled with using other scopes. Why is this important? Many critters and varmints are most active during these times, so you can use this scope to take them down when they’re most exposed, even if the sun isn’t high in the sky.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

If there’s an issue here, it’s the fact that the crosshairs are somewhat thick. While testing this scope for accuracy, I did notice some minor obstruction from the thicker crosshairs when zoomed in fully at 9x, making precision shooting a bit more difficult. In my experience, this can impact your precision shooting results with the Bushnell air rifle optic. Of course, it’s far from a dealbreaker, and you’ll likely only notice it if you zoom in to maximum magnification. Otherwise, they won’t get in your way very often.

Key Features

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


  • Excellent light transmission
  • Very durable scope
  • Good windage and elevation turrets
  • Good amount of eye relief


  • Crosshairs might be a bit thicker for your liking

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the Bushnell air rifle scope is a top choice for varmint hunting and for hitting your target in lowlight environments.

My rating: 4.1/5

5. Hammers 4-12X40 AO Air Gun Rifle Scope

Hammers 4-12X40AO Air Gun Rifle Scope for High Power Magnum Spring Air Gun Rifle with Solid Mount Built-in Stop Pin

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Lastly, Hammers has another excellent air gun rifle scope to check out, and it has higher magnification powers than you might expect.

My Feeling After Using The Hammers 4-12X40

The Hammers long-range rifle scope magnifies up to 12x, making it a particularly good pick if you plan to use your air rifle at its absolute maximum effective range. Of course, you’ll have to pair this with a pretty powerful, long-range air rifle to get the most value out of your purchase! As an experienced shooter, I tested this scope extensively on my favorite air rifle over the past few months. I was able to stretch out the range of my rifle significantly thanks to the 12x magnification. The clarity and light transmission through the entire zoom range is superb. Even at long distances I could easily see and hit small targets. The generous eye relief prevented any injuries during high recoil scenarios.

This Hammers air rifle scope comes with a fine-tuned adjustable objective, which allows you to eliminate parallax. The fast focus eyepiece is perfect, in my opinion, for helping you sight into your next target and acquire them quickly while keeping them in your sights no matter how you change your magnification settings.

The rest of the scope is similarly well-made, boasting excellent durability. The single tubular design features very high shock resistance, again making it perfect for high-impact air rifle models. I was relieved that the scope held zero perfectly even after 500 rounds through my magnum air rifle. The durability is top notch. I also used this scope during cold winter days and rainy spring weather without any issues with fogging or clarity degradation. Of course, you can rest assured that it will work well in inclement weather, like foggy or rainy weather.

Product Highlights

Usability is the name of the game for many air rifle scopes, so I was pleased to find that this Hammers optic came with a mounting system included with the purchase. Four clamping screws and a stop pin combine into a system to keep the mount aligned and very tight against your chosen air rifle’s body.

The included mounting system made installation very easy, even for a novice. I had it sighted in within minutes thanks to the precise adjustments of the turrets. The mount held solid with no shifting even during high recoil scenarios.

I really like this system because it ensures the optic will stay right where you put it, even if you pair it with a very high recoil weapon.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

The issue with this scope is the turrets, though they do offer good performance by and large. However, I found that the turrets’ zeroing function could be a lot better, and it oftentimes left some consistency to be desired. The turrets were a bit stiff for my liking. I would prefer slightly smoother adjustments, but they did work reliably once sighted in properly. You just need to take care when making adjustments. Practice with these to learn how they feel before taking the optic and your favorite rifle into the field. It’s also a bit heavy compared to other air rifle optics, so keep this in mind – your rifle’s balance might be thrown off after mounting this equipment to it.

Key Features

  • 4-12x magnification
  • 40mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Excellent light transmission
  • Very durable scope
  • Good target acquisition
  • Comes with a stellar mounting system


  • Turret zeroing feature isn’t amazing

The Bottom Line

In the end, I’d recommend the Hammers long-range air rifle scope for – you guessed it – long-distance air rifle hunters and varmint shooters. You’d be particularly smart to combine it with a powerful air rifle in your repertoire.

My rating: 4/5

What Makes an Air Rifle Scope Different from a Regular Rifle Scope?

You might be wondering, “Aren’t air rifles just rifles? Shouldn’t any regular scope work?” The reality, however, is a tad more complex.

For one, air rifles function differently from typical ballistic firearms. Conventional rifles produce recoil when the bullet is expelled from the barrel due to rapidly expanding gas. Air rifles, on the other hand, generate a unique kind of recoil resulting from the force exerted when the spring propelling the pellet releases. This recoil creates two forces: one pushing the rifle into your shoulder, and the other pulling the rifle forward as the spring hits the air rifle’s internal chamber.

Why does this matter? Scopes are designed to withstand specific types of recoil. Therefore, if you attach a regular rifle scope to your air rifle, it may sustain damage or not function correctly, even if it’s built robustly for regular rifle use.

You can find scopes that are “air rifle rated”, meaning they’re designed to endure the recoil produced by air rifles. Some of the scopes I’ve selected for you fall into this category.

Moreover, regular rifle scopes aren’t calibrated for the trajectory and range of an air gun pellet. Pellet guns have distinct effective ranges compared to regular rifles, meaning the optics required for accurate magnification and holdover points will vary significantly between the two.

Simply put, air rifle scopes are designed to be accurate with air rifles. Some regular rifle scopes have optics that are not designed for pellet guns and thus will not provide accurate magnification.

If you are interested to read more of my articles you can check my best scope for 6.5 Grendel review or my guide on the best crossbow scope.

What Should You Look for in an Air Rifle Scope?

The best air rifle scope for your needs will have several features or elements that allow it to work beautifully with your chosen weapon. Let’s go over the things to consider before you finalize the purchase.

Magnification Settings

Air rifles don’t have the same effective ranges as regular rifles. Therefore, if you’re accustomed to magnification ranges on typical rifle scopes, you might be surprised to find air rifle scopes with zoom settings of 9x or more. However, these settings adhere to different magnification standards, so they’re not identical to what you’d expect from regular rifle scopes.

Many of the best air rifle scopes offer magnification settings between 3x and 9x. Given that most air rifles can’t maintain accuracy over 100 yards, these scopes are ideal for both air rifle competitions and hunting small pests.

I’ve recommended some top-tier air rifle scopes with varying zoom levels, allowing you to choose the best scope for your effective range. None of the scopes I’ve selected are “fixed” magnification models, which lack versatility due to their single setting.

Does it Have a Parallax Knob?

Many top-quality air rifle scopes feature a parallax adjuster turret or knob on the side. This helps correct or eliminate distracting parallax errors when sighting through an air rifle scope. As air rifles typically operate at ranges below 100 yards, parallax can significantly hinder your accuracy.

Lens Quality

The highest-grade air rifle scopes will feature superior lenses. This includes lenses with protective coatings to safeguard them from dust or debris, or coatings to enhance light transmission and, in turn, improve your accuracy.

Some of the best scopes also possess illuminated reticles, facilitating accurate shots even in low light conditions. Certain reticles are of the “BDC” type, featuring special holdover points that help you compensate for pellet drop at longer distances.

Given the importance of reticles and lenses, I’ve selected only the best air rifle scopes featuring superb lenses for you to consider.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Air Rifle Scope?

An air rifle scope is attached to the top of your air rifle through a mount. It (theoretically) lets you hit your target more frequently and accurately because it magnifies the image, which you might struggle to see if you didn’t have one.

Is an Air Rifle Scope necessary?

That depends on how you intend to use your air gun. You don’t really need one if you’re throwing cans from 30 feet. Actually, without a scope, it would probably be a lot more enjoyable because there will be little to no skill involved at that range (assuming your scope is working of course).

However, if you’re hunting or shooting at targets that are a little further away, you might want to consider a scope.

However, there is another reason why some individuals choose to purchase a sight for an air rifle. They are just interested in electronics, technology, and scopes.

What is parallax?

A lot of folks are perplexed by parallax and simply leave the knob alone. You don’t need to worry about it if you’re plinking or firing at close range targets. However, just so you’re aware, here’s a definition of parallax.

You can use a setting called parallax to help you focus. Yes, it is distinct from the real focus dial located near your eye.

Your reticle will adjust to the target objective as a result of the parallax. This means that, unlike focus, which varies from shooter to shooter, the distance between the target and the reticle is more important.

The issue arises because it’s impossible to remain perfectly dead-center behind your rifle! When you hold your rifle still and stare through the scope at a distant target, your reticle will shift around on the target if you move your head slightly left or right. The parallax shift is the name given to this movement, and your parallax adjuster will allow the reticle to appear on the same plane as the target, thereby erasing it.

How Far Will An Airgun shoot?

It depends on a number of factors, like the type of gun, its age, the type of pellet used, the weather, and so on.

A 177 pellet can fly roughly 400 yards with an ordinary rifle, according to estimates. When it gets there, however, it won’t have much power.

How Much Do Airguns Cost?

You can certainly get a nice rifle for less than $100. In fact, if you choose, you can enter into this activity for less than $50. You can, however, spend more than $1,500 on a PCP if you choose. It all comes down to what you want and how much you’re willing to spend.

Can An Air Rifle Kill?

They can, however, cause fatalities, and this has happened in the past. When youngsters are not monitored or when people make minor mistakes, serious safety issues can arise.

Often, injuries occur as a result of assumptions — for example, presuming the gun is not loaded when it is.


Ultimately, any of the above air rifle scopes will be a great choice for either target practice or for keeping your property clear of pests. Just make sure to choose one of the Hammers scopes with mounts if you don’t already have a good mount ready for your air rifle before purchasing. Good hunting!

If you want to read more of my articles have a look at our full guide on why you should use rifle scopes or review on the best scope mounts for M1A.

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