Best Scope for 450 Bushmaster – The 5 Best Optics Reviewed

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Some hunters want a rifle cartridge that is guaranteed to bring down their target no matter what, believing that bigger is oftentimes better. For these hunters and marksmen, the 450 Bushmaster cartridge is a perfect choice in my opinion. It’s designed to be used by AR 15 and M16 weapon platforms as a high-power, short-range cartridge that I consider perfect for taking down moving targets consistently.

It’s powerful enough to take down larger game and delivers a booming retort, causing some hunters to call it the “Thumper” cartridge. Indeed, I’ve noticed that it boasts considerable recoil.

The right scopes for this high-power cartridge don’t have to be hard to locate now that you’ve found my guide. Below, I’ve collected the best 450 Bushmaster scopes on the market for you to browse, plus put together a quick set of tips to help you determine the best 450 Bushmaster scope for your needs. Let’s get into it.

My Top Pick – Leupold VX-Freedom 450 Bushmaster 3-9×40 Riflescope

After all the tests I’ve done, I’ve decided that the best rifle scope for a 450 Bushmaster is the Leupold VX-Freedom 450 Bushmaster 3-9×40. I definitely like the fact that this product has been designed particularly for this rifle model – I’m really able to feel that all of its features have been perfectly adjusted to make my user experience as convenient and efficient as possible. You can read more about this excellent scope below in my detailed review!

Editor's Choice
Leupold VX-Freedom 450 Bushmaster 3-9x40 Riflescope
Leupold VX-Freedom 450 Bushmaster 3-9x40 Riflescope
Best Vortex for 450 Bushmaster
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-16x50 AO, 30mm, Second Focal Plane Riflescope - BDC Reticle
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-16x50 AO, 30mm, Second Focal Plane Riflescope - BDC Reticle
Best Nightforce for 450 Bushmaster
NIGHTFORCE SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Illuminated Moar Reticle Black Matte Hunting Scope
NIGHTFORCE SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Illuminated Moar Reticle Black Matte Hunting Scope

My 5 Best 450 Bushmaster Scopes

I’ve tested 5 optics that are most commonly recommended for a 450 Bushmaster, checking if they really fit this rifle so well, making its usage more effective and convenient. Here’s what I’ve discovered in short:

  1. Leupold VX-Freedom 450 Bushmaster 3-9×40 Riflescope – a tailored product specifically designed to work well with this rifle. Therefore, it fits perfectly and works with it as it should – definitely the best 450 Bushmaster scope there is.
  2. NightForce SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Riflescope – a great choice for short to mid-range shooting, with excellent magnifying powers.
  3. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 SFP Riflescope, BDC Reticle (MOA) – the best Vortex 450 Bushmaster scope in my opinion. I liked its 40 mm multicoated objective lens to improve light transmission and many more features.
  4. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-16×50 SFP – another great Vortex 450 Bushmaster scope with a BDC reticle and an adjustable objective lens.
  5. Burris 4.5-14x42mm Fullfield II Ballistic Plex Riflescope – a durable Burris 450 Bushmaster scope with a great reticle for any zoom setting, efficient even in bad weather conditions.

All of these scopes have multiple advantages and can work well with a 450 Bushmaster rifle. Find out more from my detailed reviews below!

1. Leupold VX-Freedom 450 Bushmaster 3-9×40 Riflescope – Best Overall

Leupold VX-Freedom 450 Bushmaster 3-9x40 Riflescope

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This 3-9x40mm rifle scope was specifically designed by Leupold for use with a 450 Bushmaster. As such, it’s constructed with considerable durability to handle the extra recoil that such rounds produce. It’s 100% waterproof and fog proof, as well.

My Feelings After Using the Leupold VX-Freedom 450 Bushmaster 3-9×40 Riflescope

This scope is paired with 450 Bushmaster rounds even more thanks to its ballistically matched elevation dial which has been specifically designed and optimized for use with the above rounds. 

It also features scratch-resistant lenses and precise windage and elevation adjustment turrets, which, as I’ve noticed after my tests, click repeatedly and dependably even after heavy use.

Twilight Max Light Management System

Like many Leupold scopes I’ve tested, this model has specially designed lenses that allow it to capture an extra 10 minutes of shooting light during the dusk or dawn hours. This can make all the difference during my hunt, especially if my prey is most active during this time of day.

Product’s Highlights

I’ve really felt that I have a durable product in my hands that can last for many years and provide me with damage-free lenses (as they are resistant to scratches). 

What’s more, it’s very versatile and can be used in various weather conditions. An elevation dial optimized specifically for 450 Bushmaster is definitely a nice perk as well.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

The only disadvantage that I can think of when it comes to this scope is that it doesn’t have a parallax turret. Adding such an enhancement would make this product even more efficient and convenient, but it isn’t a big deal – it works really well without that.

Key Features

  • Ballistically matched elevation dial
  • Durability
  • Scratch-resistant lenses
  • Precise windage and elevation adjustment turrets
  • Twilight Max light management system
Pros Cons
  • Provides a few extra minutes of light
  • Very durable
  • Perfect for inclement weather
  • Has elevation dial optimized for 450 Bushmaster
  • Lenses are scratch-resistant
  • Doesn’t come with parallax turret

Basic Parameters 

Manufacturer  Leupold
Weight 12.2 Ounces
Eye Relief 4.2-3.7 in
Magnification 3-9 x
Field of View 33.1-13.6 ft at 100 yds

The Final Verdict

As a whole, I think this scope is arguably one of the best to pair with 450 Bushmaster weapons. Few other scopes are designed from the ground up for use with a particular cartridge. 

Its lenses, elevation dial, and light management system all combine to provide you with a phenomenal shooting experience at any time of day. I’ve had a blast with it!

My rating: 5/5

2. NightForce SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Riflescope

NightForce SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Riflescope,Black,.250 MOA,Illuminated MOAR Reticle

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My tests showed me that this top-tier rifle scope from NightForce is a great combination with any 450 Bushmaster, and for good reasons. 

My Feelings After Using the NightForce SHV 4-14x50mm F1 Riflescope

For starters, it magnifies at powers between 4x and 14x: perfect for short to mid-range shooting like the kind the 450 Bushmaster cartridge is designed for anyway. 

More importantly, the scope comes with a 50 mm objective lens that collects plenty of shooting light even in the low light hours of the day, like dusk and dawn. This is crucial to me since many animals I love to hunt are most active during this time of the day.

In addition to the highquality and multicoated lenses, I can also benefit from tactical MOA adjustment turrets for windage and elevation should I choose this scope for my hunting. 

I’ve noticed that the turrets are well-marked and click audibly with every turn, so it was easy for me to maintain high accuracy without taking my eye off the target.

Illuminated Reticle

For me, the coolest of all is the illuminated reticle that comes with the purchase. This reticle features additional holdover points for bullet drop on the bottom, allowing me to hit even fast-moving targets accurately. 

I’ve understood that when I combine this reticle with typical 450 Bushmaster ammunition, I have a quality hunting rifle in my hands that can get the job done every time.

Product Highlights

One of the most important perks of this scope is its magnification ranging from 4x to 14x that can significantly facilitate mid-range shooting. Another advantage is a 50 mm objective lens, helping you to get enough light even in such hard conditions as dusk or dawn. The illuminated reticle is also worth mentioning, as it is helpful in shooting even fast-moving targets.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

This 450 Bushmaster scope can be a bit hard to get used to at first, as it tends to be tricky when shooting moving targets, as it is a first focal plane optic. However, after some time, you can master its usage, and it’s no longer an issue.

Key Features

  • Illuminated reticle
  • Many brightness intensities 
  • Waterproof and fog-proof
  • Optimal light transmission
  • Adjustable windage and elevation turrets
  • Magnification ranging from 4x to 14x
Pros Cons
  • Comes with an illuminated reticle and multiple brightness intensities
  • Has tactical and easy-to-adjust windage and elevation turrets
  • Made with waterproof and fog-proof construction for inclement weather
  • Designed with excellent lenses for optimal light transmission
  • The scope is a first focal plane optic, so it may take a little getting used to/be tricky for hitting moving targets with

Basic Parameters 

Manufacturer  NightForce
Weight 2.6 Pounds
Eye Relief 70-80 mm
Magnification 4-14 x
Field of View 7.4-25.1 ft at 100 yds

The Final Verdict

After having tested the product, I think it is a great rifle scope for 450 Bushmaster rifles due to its high-quality construction, top-tier illuminated reticle, and accurate windage and elevation adjustment turrets. It’s a great scope for hitting moving targets reliably – I’ve accomplished that many times!

My rating: 4.5/5

3. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 SFP Riflescope, BDC Reticle (MOA) Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA)

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Vortex Optics returns to my list of the best scopes with its Diamondback model, perfect for pairing with a 450 Bushmaster. 

My Feelings After Using the  Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 SFP Riflescope, BDC Reticle (MOA)

It features magnification settings between 4x and 12x and uses a 40 mm objective lens. It also has drawn my attention that this lens is multicoated to improve light transmission even during dusk or dawn hours, and it’s integrated with a fast-focus eyepiece that lets me focus my reticle in a snap.

This scope also features a pair of precision turrets that can easily zero-reset after I sight into the scope. I’ve found switching the zoom settings easy, too, thanks to the precision glider erector system that ensures that each shift is smoothly repeatable even under heavy use.  My tests have also shown that the rest of the scope is similarly high-quality with a durable body and waterproof performance.

BDC Reticle

I also need to admit that this scope has an excellent BDC reticle. When paired with a 450 Bushmaster weapon, I can hit targets at higher magnification powers by automatically compensating for bullet drops. I like the fact that this reticle increases my effectiveness and distance accuracy by orders of magnitude.

Product Highlights

One of the things I liked the most about this scope for a 450 Bushmaster is a pair of precision turrets. Apart from that, the magnification settings between 4x and 12x and a 40 mm objective lens are also amazingly helpful. Also, the light transmission is improved during dusk and dawn hours thanks to a multicoated lens.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

A small issue I encountered with this 450 Bushmaster scope was the lack of a parallax knob. It made it harder for me to get the right view at first but as I used the product more often, its mechanics were no longer a serious problem.

Key Features

  • Magnification settings between 4x and 12x
  • 40 mm objective multicoated lens
  • Fast-focus eyepiece
  • Pair of precision turrets
  • Precision glider erector system
  • Durability
  • Waterproofness
Pros Cons
  • Features precise turrets
  • Durable against inclement weather
  • Lenses are multicoated
  • Features BDC reticle
  • No parallax knob

Basic Parameters 

Manufacturer  Vortex
Weight 12.8 Ounces
Eye Relief 3.1-3.4 in
Magnification 4-12 x
Field of View 11.3 – 32.4 ft at 100 yds

The Final Verdict

Overall, I consider this excellent scope versatile and perfect for use with a 450 Bushmaster weapon platform. Its magnification ranges are suitably versatile, and the scope is sturdy enough to withstand the heavy recoil that this cartridge produces. As a result of my tests, I can also say it is noteworthy thanks to its excellent windage and elevation turrets.

Moreover, it is not only a great 450 bushmaster scope – this Vortex could also be a good choice for 6.5 Grendel in my opinion.

My rating: 4.5/5

4. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-16×50 SFP Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-16x50 AO, 30mm, Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA)

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I’ve learned that Vortex also offers a Crossfire II scope that’s perfect for use with a 450 Bushmaster weapon. 

My Feelings After Using the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-16×50 SFP

It has magnification settings between 4x and 16x and a second focal plane reticle that won’t change size as I swap between zoom levels. This scope features an adjustable objective lens that can even automatically remove some elements of parallax even though it doesn’t have a dedicated adjustment turret. I’ve found that very convenient!

Furthermore, this scope features a BDC reticle, just like the previous Vortex scope I’ve reviewed, and multicoated lenses that provide clear sight pictures and protect me from reflective glares. The fast-focus eyepiece is great for snapping to my target quickly. Apart from that, I’ve also enjoyed the fact that the scope offers lots of eye relief and a forgiving eye box.

Capped Reset Turrets

I really think this scope’s windage and elevation adjustment turrets are phenomenal. They provide audible clicks with each increment moved and can easily be reset to zero after I sight into my target. Best of all, they offer smooth and consistent performance even if I use them over and over – and I surely will!

Product Highlights

It feels very convenient to me that I can change the zoom settings without the second focal plane reticle modifying the size. Another advantage that I particularly liked was the multicoated lenses helping to achieve a clear view. As I like snapping to my target quickly, I also find the fast-focus eyepiece really appealing.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

I’ve noticed that when I was experimenting with the zoom levels, the upper ones got a little bit blurry. However, I was still able to see my target, so it didn’t cause too much trouble.

Key Features

  • BDC reticle
  • Adjustment turrets able to zero-reset
  • Great eye relief
  • Multicoated lenses
  • Fast-focus eyepiece
  • Magnification settings between 4x and 16x
Pros Cons
  • Parallax compensated for by lens
  • Has lots of eye relief
  • Has a BDC reticle
  • Adjustment turrets can be reset to zero
  • Made to be used in any weather
  • Upper zoom levels get a little blurry

Basic Parameters 

Manufacturer  Vortex
Weight 23.6 ounces
Eye Relief 3.7 in
Magnification 4-16 x
Field of View 7-25.3 ft at 100 yds

The Final Verdict

This versatile 450 Bushmaster scope works well for the M16 and AR 15 platforms. It provides a great sight picture across most of its magnification levels and features a quality reticle that helps me accomplish my hunts successfully or just win at target practice. I consider the adjustable turrets and automatic parallax reduction to be nice bonuses as well.

My rating: 4/5

5. Burris 4.5-14x42mm Fullfield II Ballistic Plex Riflescope

Burris 4.5 x-14 x -42mm Fullfield II Ballistic Plex Riflescope

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I must also admit that Burris offers an excellent rifle scope to be paired with 450 Bushmaster weapons with the Fullfield II. 

My Feelings After Using the Burris 4.5-14x42mm Fullfield II Ballistic Plex Riflescope

I appreciate that it features a proprietary reticle that is simple and versatile for hunting effectively across its varying magnification settings, which go from 4.5x to 14x. My tests have also shown that the reticle is bolstered by multicoated lenses that improve the scope’s light transmission and picture quality.

It’s made with a durable single-piece tube and is water and fog-proof, allowing it to be used in inclement weather – it hasn’t let me down even in very unpleasant conditions! 

It also features a matte black finish that can keep me hidden in the brush by reducing the likelihood of my scope producing a glare that can be noticed by a target.

Adjustable Parallax

This scope offers the ability to compensate for parallax from a small control located near the objective end of the body. I find it great for keeping my accuracy sharp at higher magnification settings, and works well to improve the effectiveness of my 450 Bushmaster.

Product’s Highlights

One of the features that I enjoy the most in this scope for a 450 Bushmaster is the universal proprietary reticle allowing me to hunt with various magnification settings. 

Moreover, I like the light’s transmission and picture quality obtained thanks to the reticle bolstered by multicoated lenses. The matte finish is also a nice touch, helping me to keep myself stealthy.

Common Problems and How to Deal With Them

What caught my attention was the fact that this scope’s glass got a bit blurry when it was on lower power. Therefore, it is important to always keep it well-charged, and you should be fine.

Key Features

  • Proprietary reticle
  • Magnification settings between 4.5x and 14x
  • Durable, waterproof, and fog-proof single-piece tube
  • Matte black finish
  • Adjustable parallax
Pros Cons
  • Matte finish keeps you stealthy
  • Has a great reticle for all zoom settings
  • Can adjust for parallax
  • Good for use in any weather
  • Glass is a bit blurry on lower power

Basic Parameters 

Manufacturer  Burris
Weight 18 ounces
Eye Relief 3.1-3.8 in
Magnification 4.5-14 x
Field of View 23-9 ft at 100 yds

The Final Verdict

After my tests, I consider this scope a phenomenal product to pair with a 450 Bushmaster. Its reticle is among the best on the market, and its ability to compensate for parallax is much appreciated. The additional waterproof functionality and matte black finish are excellent design choices in my opinion, too.

My rating: 4/5

Things to Consider Before Buying a 450 Bushmaster Scope

Above all other uses, the .450 Bushmaster is designed for hunting within typical engagement ranges of about 300 yards to 500 yards, although it’s certainly effective at ranges below or significantly above this ideal zone. To that end, let’s look at the major aspects to keep in mind as you browse.

Magnification Settings

The best scope for 450 Bushmaster weapons will complement the cartridge’s capabilities well. We wouldn’t recommend looking for scopes that use above 15x magnification for use with a 450 Bushmaster, although your mileage may vary. Overall, you’ll want to target scopes that are suitable for close-range engagements or for hunting moving targets.

That’s why the scopes I chose below are perfectly designed for these kinds of purposes. There’s no single magnification range perfect for every hunter, but I’ve tested several scopes with different zoom levels, offering you some flexibility for your choice.

Eye Relief

After the tests I’ve done, I can tell you that a 450 Bushmaster provides quite a hefty kick each time it’s fired. Because of this, the best scope for a 450 Bushmaster will provide you with plenty of eye relief. But what exactly is that?

Eye relief is the maximum distance at which you can rest your eye and still get the total picture from your scope. This distance makes it safe for you to fire with your eye still “in” the scope but not be hurt by the scope jerking back and slamming into your orbital bone.

Higher amounts of eye relief are usually better when used with a high-recoil cartridge like this one. I selected scopes with great eye relief across their magnification settings, but you’ll never want to go below 2 inches or so. All of the scopes I selected have an eye relief of at least 3 inches or more.


If you’re planning on taking your 450 Bushmaster scope with you on your next hunting engagement, you’ll probably want something built to last. From my personal experience, I know that hunting takes place in a variety of environments and oftentimes in inclement weather. To this end, I’m sure that getting a scope that can withstand the elements and stick with you throughout the entirety of a hunt is crucial to your success.

Below, I’ve listed some excellent scopes that have waterproof or fogproof constructions. This allows the scope to continue to function even in terrible weather conditions. 

After using many products of this kind, I’ve realized that many of the best 450 Bushmaster scopes will also have durable lenses that have protective coatings that can reduce their abrasion damage or improve their light transmission.

Naturally, I only selected scopes that have these upgrades or similar durability improvements for your consideration. I know that hunting scopes need to be able to put up with some punishment just like you can, and that goes double for 450 Bushmaster scopes, which also have to contend with the high recoil that comes with every shot.

First or Second Focal Plane

Finally, consider whether a given 450 Bushmaster scope has a reticle on the first or second focal plane. First focal plane reticles can be useful because they change their size and have holdover points that remain accurate as you flip between zoom levels. However, I need to mention they can be difficult to get used to.

Second focal plane reticles are more consistent in that they do not change sizes as you switch between zoom levels. But their holdover points are only accurate for one magnification setting, so you have to estimate the real windage or elevation adjustments as you swap between levels.

All in all, hunters can prefer either type of reticle, so I provided scopes with both types below for your consideration. I’m sure either can be effective on a hunt in the right hands.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the 450 Bushmaster have a lot of recoil?

A 450 Bushmaster upper is a powerful weapon. When shooting with a lightweight rifle like the AR-15, the power factor of.450 isn’t far off from 12-gauge slugs, and you’ll notice it.

Fortunately, there are a few simple solutions to the problem. First and foremost, a muzzle break will significantly dampen the felt recoil although you’ll definitely want a good pair of muffs, and a non-slip butt stock with a bit of rubber will make a huge difference compared to the solid plastic or metal of your average mil-spec stock. A heavier buffer, such as an H2 or H3, can also help to reduce recoil.

What is a straight-walled cartridge?

Straight-walled cartridges, such as the .450 Bushmaster and 350 Legend, have sides that are the same diameter from front to back, as the name implies. When looking at the cartridge from the side, you’ll notice a straight line running from the rim to the end of the case, narrowing only at the bullet. 

A bottlenecked cartridge, on the other hand, will taper down because the case diameter is larger than the diameter of the bullet. The “shoulder” is the most visible feature of a bottlenecked cartridge.

What is a bottleneck?

A bottleneck cartridge, in essence, will have more propellant behind the bullet, allowing it to fire at higher velocities, resulting in longer effective ranges. However, this raises the risk of overshooting; if a hunter misses the target, the bullet may go downrange, causing damage, injury, or even death. 

As a result, many states have made it unlawful to hunt with bottlenecked cartridges. Especially in the Midwest, hunting sites are frequently littered with farm buildings, animals, and other facilities. Many Midwest states have declared hunting with bottleneck cartridges like the.30-06 Springfield illegal, in contrast to western states, which are often more open and unoccupied.

Who made the 450 Bushmaster?

The 450 Bushmaster is part of the legacy of Jeff Cooper, a Marine Corps veteran who went on to become a ballistics expert and weapons instructor after serving in WWII and Korea. He formed the American Pistol Institute and developed a number of pistol carrying, handling, and shooting techniques. Cooper’s proposal for a “thumper” round was one of his many contributions. For huge game animals, shooters utilize thumper bullets in semi-automatic rifles to offer additional power, but not necessarily speed.

Cooper never went beyond the concept, but the idea was picked up by multiple cartridge manufacturers, who eventually issued the round after various case length adjustments. 450 Bushmaster ammo is currently produced by only two companies: Federal and Hornady.

Although hunting with the cartridge has been illegal in many locations for years, recent revisions in state legislation have made it permissible for harvesting whitetail deer, resulting in a considerable increase in the cartridge’s use.

What is the 450 Bushmaster used for?

The 450 Bushmaster is utilized for two distinct sports: medium to large game hunting and competitive target shooting. Shooters are mostly interested in how it compares to other straight-walled rifle cartridges, which are popular among hunters. However, it’s also worth contrasting the cartridge with other high-volume target shooting rounds.

Concluding My Best  Scope for 450 Bushmaster Guide

The right scope paired with your 450 Bushmaster platform will make you a force to be reckoned with! Whether you just like cartridges that go “boom” or you’re looking to put down some heavier game, you should now be ready to take home the prize on your next hunt. Good luck!

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