Best Scope for .243 Winchester – My Top 4 in 2024

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The .243 Winchester is a popular choice among shooters.

This cartridge was first manufactured in 1955 for rifles such as the Winchester Model 70 bolt-action and Model 88 lever-action. Nowadays, basically every major manufacturer sells rifles chambered in the .243 Winchester.

It’s a no-brainer, having the combination of both lightweight (50 to 80 grain) rounds for hunting coyote-sized animals and the 90 to 105-grain bullets for relatively larger targets.

The .243 Winchester simply proves to be an ideal candidate for all your hunting and shooting fun with its dual-purpose use. To further enhance its accuracy you need the right scope.

My Top Pick – Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 

After all the shooting I’ve done with different scopes, I believe that the Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 is the best scope for .243 Win. It was very easy to mount and provided me with a crystal-clear view. The 12x magnification is sufficient for shooting at the ranges at which the .243 excels. The scope’s quality feels excellent and durable, and it’s a pure pleasure to shoot with. You can find my full reasoning further down.

My Top 4 Best Scopes for the .243 Deer Rifle

I went through all the trouble and found 4 suitable scopes for rifles using the .243 Winchester.

Here’s the short answer:

  1. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40Best .243 Scope
  2. Burris Fullfield II Ballistic Plex Scope – Best For Varmint Hunting
  3. Sightron 3-9x40mm SIH-Tac Duplex Series Riflescope – Best for Medium Ranges
  4. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9X40mm – Best Budget Scope

Now, my job here isn’t entirely done. You might want a bit more explanation and persuasion to truly find the perfect match for your personal requirements. So, I’m going to dig deeper into the specifications of each one of my recommended scopes to help you choose your best scope for a .243.

Are you a fan of Winchester rounds? Then check out my .270 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .17 Winchester Super Magnum guides.

1. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 – Best .243 Scope

Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA)

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This one right here the best scope for any .243 rifle that you can find out there.

It’s targeted towards big game, predator/varmint, long range hunters, which probably means you if you’re reading this.

My Feelings after Using the Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40

Vortex Optics have created a piece of equipment that’ll surely prove helpful in handling because of its impressively lightweight body. After extensive evaluating in various terrain, I found the lightweight body to be very practical for carrying long distances without fatigue.The size and weight make it easy for me to mount securely.

As it’s aimed for long range usage, it was made to deliver crystal-clear view throughout any given time of day thanks to its multi-coated lenses. Examining in low light conditions, I was very impressed with the glass clarity and brightness. The quality of the lenses is evident. Add to that the eyepiece that offers easy manipulation of the Dead-Hold BDC reticle. I found the reticle very sharp with crisp details in the center and on the hash marks, allowing me to make precise windage and elevation adjustments at long range. When testing at 400 yards, I could clearly see bullet impacts and adjust onto target.

There’s also the zero-reset turrets. After sight in, I can easily rotate to my zero and get into the action seamlessly. The turrets tracked true through their full range of adjustment with audible and tactile clicks. Resetting to zero was repeatable and accurate.

Product Highlights

What’s also neat about this scope is its shockproof and durable, recoil-resistant design with its anodized surface, which helps maintain a low profile. After 500 rounds of assessing with my .243 rifle, the scope maintained solid eye relief, reticle position, and zero with no signs of looseness in the erector assembly or turrets. That proves it is of great manufacturing quality.

This thing will maintain a waterproof, fog proof performance for an unbelievable amount of time. Analyzing in rainy 40 degree weather and 95% humidity, I did not notice any fogging or drops of moisture inside the optic despite rapid temperature changes. No matter where I am: snowy mountains, green hills, by the riverside, humid or dry climates, this scope got me covered.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

Everything about Vortex Optics Diamondback is perfect for me, except for one thing – eye relief. I found the eye box and eye relief fairly unforgiving compared to higher end models. The scope only provides 3.1 inches of eye relief, requiring a very solid cheek weld for proper sight picture. Moving off the optic by only a half inch cuts off the edges. To mitigate this issue, I utilized a higher mount to get better positioning behind the scope. I believe the manufacturer should have invested more in its design like it did in other scope models.

Key Features 

  • 1-inch one-piece aluminum tube construction
  • Parallax correction
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Multilayer XR coating
  • Crystal-clear view
  • Built to resist
  • Fog proof
  • Waterproof
  • Eye relief could be more comfortable

Basic Parameters 

Manufacturer ‎Vortex Optics
Weight 14.6 Oz
Eye Relief 3.1 – 3.4 Inches
Magnification 4x-12x
Field of View 32.4 – 11.1 ft at 100 yds

The Bottom line

This is the best scope for a .243 rifle for me and can almost be called perfect for the tasks you’re most likely looking to accomplish. One thing it’s not commended for is that the parallax isn’t that great after the 50-yard mark. Sure, it may affect the time you put in adjusting your shot. But with everything else included in this awesome piece of machinery, I think it’s not that big of a problem.

One good thing to know is that this is the most expensive scope on my list (for a good reason) and it’s still not ridiculously overpriced in any way.

My Rating: 5/5

2. Burris Fullfield II Ballistic Plex Scope – Best for Varmint Hunting
Burris FullField II 200193 Rifle Scope 6.5-20X50 Ballistic Mil-Dot 1 Inch Tube Matte Black BU200193

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The .243 excels at relatively mid-range engagements at around 200 yards. Therefore, it’s a perfect rifle to combine with this Burris FullField II scope, which is set to magnify between 3-9x with a 40 mm objective lens.

My Feelings after Using the Burris Fullfield II Ballistic Plex Scope 

It’s a lightweight and durable scope from start to finish, weighing just 13 ounces and being comprised of high-quality optical glass and aluminum tube materials. The aluminum materials are super durable and are reinforced with gas seals to ensure that the scope will work under any weather conditions. I tested the scope’s waterproof and fogproof capabilities by exposing it to heavy rain, high humidity, and rapid temperature changes and found no issues like fogging or water ingress.

The eye relief and eye box were quite forgiving, allowing me to easily acquire the target while shouldering the rifle in different positions. I was able to sight cleanly and quickly even during rapid fire.

I also really like the tactile windage and elevation adjustment turrets. These don’t have very clear markings, but are smooth and responsive every time I put my fingers to them; they do not need tools to operate. Evaluating tracking and repeatability after making multiple elevation/windage changes, I found it returned to zero reliably.

The scope survived drops onto hard surfaces from chest height without losing zero. The aluminum housing showed minor cosmetic damage but the optics were unaffected.

Product Highlights 

As mentioned, the glass lenses used with this optic are high quality and coated with special layers of materials to ensure long-term durability and phenomenal light transmission. Testing under dawn/dusk conditions, I found the light transmission and clarity to be exceptionally good for the price point. Contrast and resolution allowed me precise aiming even in low light. The glass itself is precision ground to make sure that it collects as much light as possible.

Further cementing this as a quality piece of hardware is the integrated eyepiece. This is durable and has a no-slip grip so I can quickly adjust between magnification settings in the field. The magnification ring worked smoothly and could be turned rapidly while I maintained eye box. Adjusting under pressure is easy with the no-slip grip. Again, this is great for hunters who may need to rapidly swap between magnification settings to track fast-moving targets that are running away from them.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

The only issue I noticed with Burris was the crosshair. It appeared to be a bit too fine. While precise, I found the thin crosshairs almost get lost at max magnification. A heavier crosshair option would improve target acquisition for me.

Key Features 

  • Second Focal Plane
  • Nitrogen-filled scope tubes preventing fogging
  • Hi-Lumen multi coating
  • Integrated eyepiece design has no-slip grip for effortless adjustment
  • High-Grade Hunting Glass
  • Excellent Eyepiece
  • Waterproof
  • Fog proof
  • Durable
  • Turrets don’t have clear markings
  • Crosshair is a bit too fine

Basic Parameters 

Manufacturer Burris
Weight 13 Ounces
Eye Relief 3.1 – 3.8 Inches
Magnification 3x-9x
Field of View 33-13 feet/100 yards

The Bottom Line

Overall, the Burris FullField II is a phenomenal all-around rifle scope that excelled in my trialling. Given its versatility, robustness, and accuracy, the FullField II is perfectly suited for varmint hunting. I found it performed flawlessly when paired with my .243 rifle out to ranges of 300-400 yards. For hunters needing an optic to cover medium distances that won’t break the bank, the Burris FullField II earns my wholehearted recommendation.

This Burris scope would also be a good choice for the more powerful 30-06 caliber.

My Rating: 4/5

3. Sightron 3-9x40mm SIH-Tac Duplex Series Riflescope – Best for Medium Ranges
Sightron 3-9x40mm SIH-Tac Duplex Series Riflescope

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Sightron’s SIH-Tac Scope is another great choice for .243 rifle users. There’s a lot to like here, starting with its overall construction. The .243 rifle scope is designed with high-quality materials for the outside tube, as well as multiple coatings for the lenses to boost light transmission and lens durability.

My Feelings after Using the Sightron 3-9x40mm SIH-Tac Duplex Series Riflescope

You’ll benefit from relatively high eye relief at about 3.3 inches at maximum magnification. The scope can magnify to typical mid-range factors, 3-9x, and comes with a 40 mm objective lens. Testing the scope at various magnification levels, I found the image clarity and brightness to be excellent across the entire 3-9x range. At 9x magnification, fine details on distant targets were sharp and easy to discern. The reticle, a duplex variety, is simplistic but perfect for hitting targets at about 200 yards out. The duplex reticle provided me precise aim points without cluttering myfield of view. I could quickly acquire and range targets out to 200 yards.

The exposed elevation and windage turrets provided positive clicks with each adjustment. The turrets had no slop or backlash, enabling consistent and repeatable dialing of adjustments. The adjustment markings were clear and easy to read even in low light conditions.

I also like the fact that the scope comes with extra flip-open lens caps to protect the glass from ambient debris or degradation over time. As a lightweight scope, the SIH-Tac Scope only weighs about 15 ounces. So adding it to my rifle was quick and easy without affecting my rifle’s overall balance. While conducting various shooting drills, I found that the light weight of the scope enabled fast target acquisition and transitions without fatiguing my support arm. Mounting was straightforward and the balance point of my rifle did not noticeably shift, allowing for easy swinging and target acquisition.

Product Highlights 

After numerous tests conducted, I’ve concluded that this scope is supremely durable. Despite subjecting the scope to repeated drops onto hard surfaces from a height of 3 feet, the optics held zero and suffered no visible damage. It’s made to work in wet or foggy conditions and is totally waterproof down to about a meter. I submerged the scope underwater for an extended time and found no moisture or fogging inside afterwards, showcasing the robust waterproof seals. So I can easily take this into inclement weather if that’s what my hunting expedition calls for.

I also appreciated the high-quality turrets that come built into the optic. These turrets provided positive feedback clicks every time I changed either windage or elevation settings. With the external turrets locked, I found the 1/4 MOA adjustments enabled precise dialing of shots for long range accuracy. The turrets had a very tactile click feel with no slop, enabling repeatable adjustments. So, I’ll be able to adjust for these variables without taking my eye off my target. The turrets are even well marked so I never lose my position.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

The biggest disadvantage of the Sightron SIH is a lack of adjustable parallax. However, on second thought, some hunters would do just fine with a fixed parallax. When conducting accuracy assesing at 100 yards and beyond, I noticed parallax errors on small targets that required dialing in correction adjustments to mitigate. For most hunting situations the fixed parallax should suffice, but precision shooters may desire an adjustable parallax option. I think, in the end, it is up to your preference.

Key Features 

  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Low profile hunting turret
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Nitrogen filled to prevent fogging
  • Generous eye relief
  • Waterproof Construction
  • Excellent Turrets
  • Lack of adjustable parallax

Basic Parameters 

Manufacturer Sightron
Weight 15 Ounces
Eye Relief 3.3 – 4.1 Inches
Magnification 3x-9x
Field of View 40.4-13.3 feet/100 yards

The Bottom Line

Overall, the SIH-Tac Scope is reasonably affordable and quite suitable for shooting at medium ranges. Consider this for your .243 rifle if you want something versatile and built to last without having to spend too much cash on a single purchase.

My Rating: 4.2/5

4. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9X40mm – Best Budget Scope

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

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This Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn scope is another example of a quality scope at a reasonable price. It’s one of the most popular scopes around in the market. Here’s why:

My Feelings after Using the Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9X40mm

It comes with its very own Dusk & Dawn Brightness (DDB) Coating that ensures clear and bright lenses during any moment of your hunting day. I tested the scope at dawn and dusk over several days. The image clarity and light transmission were excellent even in low light conditions. Targets appeared bright and clear through the scope. There was minimal chromatic aberration or distortion even at dusk and dawn when light conditions challenge most optics.

In terms of glass clarity, the lenses maintained a high level of transparency, significantly enhancing target visibility. This was particularly noticeable when I was tracking small, distant objects, where detail is crucial.

That’s really something for such a cheap piece of equipment. The name of the brand isn’t just a fancy phrase. This scope can truly deliver reliable imagery from the first light of day to the last.

Product Highlights 

What’s also nice about this one is that it comes with the Multi-X reticle. It’s a duplex style crosshair; ¼ MOA fingertip windage, elevation adjustments, and reset-zero turrets. Something that most hunters, including myselfare very accustomed to. The windage and elevation turrets tracked true to their adjustments. I was able to dial in 100 yard zeros reliably. The controls were also easy to access and use with gloved hands. It should be noted that it doesn’t come with parallax adjustment.

And you don’t have to worry about all the rough conditions around you. This one, like all mentioned before, is also waterproof and fog proof. I tested the waterproofing by submerging the scope in water which it handled well with no leaks. In cold weather, I did not experience issues with internal fogging. The scope’s durability was further tested during a particularly rugged hunting trip, where it sustained minor impacts but continued to function without any noticeable decline in performance. Pop in your .243 rounds without a second thought. Don’t let the price tag give you doubt.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

I have no doubt that this scope is great within 250 yards. However, the glass quality desires to be better. The price is very affordable, so it explains that Bushnell had to cut corners there. I found the eye relief to be sufficient but the eye box was fairly tight, requiring more precise head placement. The maximum useful magnification I found was around 7x before image quality degraded noticeably.

Key Features 

  • Dusk & Dawn Brightness (DDB) coating
  • Multi-X crosshair reticle
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Cheap
  • Weatherproof
  • Illuminated reticle available
  • Not the highest glass quality

Basic Parameters 

Manufacturer Bushnell
Weight 12.5 Ounces
Eye Relief 6 inches extended
Magnification 3x-9x
Field of View 36-13 feet/100 yards

The Bottom line

Although this is my best budget pick, this thing is nothing short of a good investment. It can be a very good ally of yours when you decide to take your .243 rounds for a hunt or to a shooting range. You won’t be disappointed. Its ergonomic design made it easy to adjust even with gloves on, but the lack of a parallax adjustment knob might be a minor inconvenience for some users.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Going the Distance: Maximize Your Shooting Range

The .243 can shoot up to 200 yards with less than 1 MOA.

With the right scope and enough practice, you can triple this distance and even more. The .243 is capable of doing it, are you?

A Quick Guide to Distance: How Far Will Your Bullet Go?

For a rifle with a 22-24″ barrel chambered in a .243 keep these rough measurements in mind:

  • Long Range: About 350 yards and above
  • Medium Range: About 150 – 350 yards
  • Close Range: Under 150 yards

What Magnification Do You Need?

For taking long-range shots, you’re going to need some skills. But skill alone isn’t enough. Proper magnification will do the trick and give you the ease and clarity required for such shots. But even if you’re not going for any challenging yardage, a scope is required for proper locking on relatively small targets.

Of course, as you might have guessed, the further the target, the higher the required magnification will be.

So, let’s analyze the different requirements for each kind of range:

  • Long Range (350 yards and above)

At this level, you’ll need all the clarity and magnification that you can get, especially if you intend on going for smaller targets. Your best choice for magnification, in this case, is with scopes of 9x and up.

Also, for the small targets that you’ll be dealing with, you’ll need to counter the downside of the distance with large scope lenses for maximum light absorption and hence better clarity. For that, 40mm lenses are the way to go. I will give you a few recommendations with similar characteristics.

  • Medium Range (150 – 350 yards)

Now at medium range, you’ll find more comfort in using your .243 equipped rifle. But magnification should never be an afterthought. You’d still need some zooming ability, albeit less than previously mentioned. A scope of 5x-9x is a suitable range for the requirements of medium distances.

  • Close Range (under 150 yards)

There isn’t anything the .243 cannot hit and even obliterate at this range. Since your targets are closer, you’ll have to go for scopes with magnification of 1x-4x.

Frequently Asked Questions

What was the .243 Winchester made for?

The .243 Winchester was created specifically for varmint hunting. The round’s potential was discovered by shooters, who began utilizing it on medium to large game like turkey, whitetail deer, mule deer, and pronghorn. Wild hogs, black bears, and caribou have all been killed with the .243.

Is the .243 Winchester effective?

The .243 is a tiny, light rifle that is ideal for first-time deer hunters. This rifle round is used by big-game hunters in the western states to take down mule deer and even bears. At ranges under 200 yards, it may also be one of the most accurate rifle rounds available. It can, however, stretch out across a vast distance if necessary.

How accurate is the .243 Winchester?

Although the rifle is exceptionally accurate out to 300 yards (270 meters), it may not have enough terminal energy to dependably drop medium game at that range.

Is the .243 Winchester good for young shooters?

The.243 Winchester is a fantastic choice for young hunters, especially when it comes to medium-sized animals, where solid shots must be placed accurately. The.243 requires accurate shot placement as well, but it’s a little more forgiving, making it ideal for the first deer rifle for a child.

How expensive is a .243 Winchester?

A .243 Winchester rifle is currently worth an average price of $729.11 new and $725.17 used. The 12-month average price is $702.74 new and $615.86 used.

Is a .243 Winchester good for bear hunting?

A .243 with a good, bonded bullet is absolutely lethal for black bears. Grizzlies have a reputation for being more difficult to kill, however this appears to be due to the bear’s awareness of the hunter’s presence. A good shot trumps a huge bullet even on giant coastal brown bears.

Is a .243 Winchester good for hunting elk?

Although the .243 Winchester is a decent elk rifle, it’s unlikely that hunters would choose it over harder-hitting cartridges. Premium bullets have come a long way in terms of boosting the lethality of hunting rifles, yet many people still prefer alternatives. Elk hunting with a .243 Winchester will never be a feasible option.

When was the .243 Winchester created?

The .243 Winchester was created by Winchester in 1955.

How much kick does the .243 rifle have?

According to multiple studies and charts by respected shooting writers, the  .243 with a 100-grain bullet produces about 9 pounds of recoil using a 7.5-pound gun. A 7-08 using a 120-grain bullet out of the same weight gun produces just over 12 pounds of recoil.

What’s the difference between the .243 and 6.5 creedmoor?

The .243 Winchester fires smaller diameter bullets at a significantly higher velocity than the 6.5 Creedmoor. The .243 has a flatter trajectory and much less recoil, but the 6.5 Creedmoor retains more kinetic energy and drifts less in the wind than the .243 Winchester at typical hunting ranges.

Final Verdict

So that’s pretty much it. Those are the best optics for your .243 Winchester.

You deserve the best rifle customization to really get the best out of the .243 Winchester. And the list above is nothing but a summarization of the best products the market has to offer for such cartridges. Delivered to you by the best craftsmen in the business.

So, what are you waiting for? Make your choice and get into the action in the only way that it’s meant to be done.

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