For those looking for top-tier rifle scopes on a budget, it can be tough to find something right for your needs. That’s why we found the best rifle scopes under $200 and brought them here for your browsing. Check out our buying guide to discover what makes a scope perfect for a user, too, and you’ll pick the best scope for your weapon on the first try
What to Consider When Buying a Rifle Scope Under $200
There are plenty of excellent rifle scopes you can purchase under $200. They’ll combine excellent features and durability with an affordable asking price. That being said, there’s still plenty of variety within these scopes, and not every scope is perfect for every person. Keep the following factors in mind before you finalize the purchase and you’ll be sure to choose the ideal scope for your needs.
First or Second Focal Plane?
There are two types of reticles you can find on rifle scopes: first focal plane or second focal plane. First focal plane reticles are versatile and will slightly change size as you shift between magnification settings. This allows the reticle to grow smaller as you decrease magnification and grow larger as you increase magnification.
The advantage of this reticle style is that the holdover points or hash marks of your reticle remain accurate; their values remain the same for your target estimations. However, newer marksmen can find this process a bit difficult to get used to.
Second focal plane rifle scopes don’t change size as you switch between magnification settings. This can make the reticle easier to get used to, but the reticle’s holdover points are only measured for its native setting, usually on the lower end of the spectrum and specified in the scope’s user manual. Any magnification settings higher or lower than the reticle’s native setting will require you to estimate the holdover values yourself.
All in all, both reticles can be effective in the hands of a skilled marksman. Below, you’ll find rifle scopes under $200 that have both types available, so you can pick between them depending on your preferences or experience level.
Check our guides on other price ranges:
What Are the Magnification Settings?
The best rifle scopes under $200 will have magnification levels perfect for your hunting or shooting needs. Some rifle scopes have magnification settings on the shorter end, only reaching levels at about 7x or so, while others might be able to zoom and even further and reach levels around 12x or so.
Again, there isn’t any perfect answer that all marksmen should follow. Pick out the scope that has the zooming versatility you need to accomplish your goals or hunt your game. We’ve collected several excellent rifle scopes under $200 with variable magnification levels so you can pick and choose which will work best for your weapon.
Several of the best scopes under $200 will incorporate special design features into their reticles.
One of the most interesting variants of reticle innovations is the BDC, or bullet drop compensation, reticle. BDC reticles have special holdover points that let you estimate where a bullet will land when fired while incorporating the amount it will drop thanks to gravity.
Basically, it predicts how much bullet drop will affect the final endpoint of your shot, allowing you to better hit your marks at longer distances. Better yet, these special holdover points are unobtrusive and easy to see through, allowing you to maintain your accuracy even when trying to hit smaller targets at great distances. Needless to say, we’ve selected a few scopes under $200 with this feature.
But you should also consider rifle scopes under $200 that offer illuminated reticles, which can make shooting in bright or low light conditions easier. Several of the best scopes will have special reticle illumination controls that can let you affect how bright or dim the reticle is at any given moment.
All of the scopes we chose under $200 have something special happening with the reticle to distinguish them from the other scopes on the market. Consider them all carefully before you make your final decision.
How Durable is the Scope?
Even though these scopes can all be purchased for under $200, they still need to be built to last. You’ll want to pay attention to the scope’s durability, either by paying attention to the materials used to construct the scope or the composition of its lenses.
The best scopes under $200 will be made from durable steel or from aluminum, which can protect the scope and its internal components from shock damage. Lenses that are defended by anti-scratch coatings will last longer and won’t compromise your vision even if you accidentally drop it lens first on the ground.
Either of these two durability advantages will drastically improve the amount of time you can use the scope before getting a replacement and potentially save you hundreds of more dollars in terms of repairs.
Keep an eye out for scopes that are waterproof, as well, if you plan to go hunting during inclement weather. It won’t do you any good if your scope stops working just because it’s raining a little. Of course, we have several excellent scopes under $200 that are waterproof for you to check out below.
The 5 Best Rifle Scopes Under $200
1. Vortex Crossfire 2 4-12×44 Riflescope BDC MOA
Vortex always brings excellent scopes to the market, and the Crossfire 2 is a great example of this classic quality. It features magnification ranges between 4x and 12x, making it a great scope for most hunting scenarios and target practice. The lenses are boosted thanks to anti-reflective and defensive coatings that both improve light transmission and prevent the lens from getting scratched too easily.
The rest of the scope is made from aircraft-grade aluminum and has capped finger adjustable turrets to change your windage and elevation variables. These can easily be reset to zero and emit an audible click each time they’re turned. Don’t forget the ultra-forgiving eye box and the long amount of eye relief at your disposal.
Of particular note is the dead hold BDC reticle, which can help you hit targets at a distance by providing holdover points that automatically compensate for bullet drop off. It’ll be easier than ever to land targets at the upper end of its zoom levels, even if the target is small since the holdover points are easy enough to see through. This reticle is even more effective thanks to the fast focus eyepiece integrated into the scope.
- Features fast-focus eyepiece
- Has a good BDC reticle
- Very durable overall
- Lens provides good light transmission
- Turrets are easy and effective to adjust
- Eye relief suffers at higher mag settings
- Clarity suffers at higher mag settings
The Final Verdict
All in all, the Crossfire 2 is a great example of the scope that works under a wide variety of conditions and can help you take snappy but accurate shots. With this scope and its BDC reticle, hitting moving, distant animals will be not only possible but probable.
2. UTG 3-12×44 30mm Compact Scope
UTG has been a serious contender in the scope market for some time and they bring their expertise to the forefront with this scope. It can swap between magnification settings of 3x to 12x, making it a great close and medium-range scope. It also features zero-locking and zero-resetting target turrets. These allow for precise and consistent windage, parallax, and elevation adjustments.
These are coupled with a durable body and an angled front sunshade to provide a and excellent piece of equipment for hunters and those who just enjoy target practice alike. There’s also a pair of flip-open lens caps included with the purchase, which increases its value for money.
Lenses and Reticles
This scope is particularly special since the lenses are multi-emerald coated, improving their durability and light transmission beyond most other lenses on the market. It also features a 36-color illuminated reticle, which retains its illumination even under heavy recoil.
- Very good reticle for all light conditions
- Lenses are durable and transmit light well
- Very durable body
- Turrets can lock and reset to zero
- Turret mounts can shake loose under recoil
The Final Verdict
All in all, this UTG scope is a perfect choice for close-range target practice or hunting in low light conditions. The illuminated reticle and adjustment turrets will make this a joy to use even if the ambient light is low. It’s also nice to be able to choose between 36 settings to customize the reticle based on your current needs.
3. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope
Leupold’s scopes are world-renowned, and for good reason. This scope emphasizes the high quality of its manufacturer with magnification settings between 3x and 9x with a 40 mm lens. It utilizes a duplex reticle, plus scratch-resistant lenses that can withstand significant wear and tear without suffering in quality.
But that’s not all. This rifle scope also features precise finger click adjustment turrets for windage and elevation, plus a durable waterproof and fog proof body. The outside has a matte finish that will reduce glare or flashiness that might give away your position during a sunny day.
Twilight Light Management System
This system, which is essentially a special layer positioning the lenses inside the scope, is proficient enough to give you 10 extra minutes of shooting light at dusk or dawn. As many hunters know, this can make all the difference during a hunt when you need to hit your target during specific windows of the day. All in all, it’s a fantastic feature that isn’t seen among most of the rifle scopes under $200.
- Can extend shooting time at dusk or dawn
- Features durable lens
- Matte finish makes you more stealthy
- Great for use in inclement weather
- No holdovers on reticle
- Turrets are a little “soft” on each click
The Final Verdict
The Leupold VX-Freedom is a versatile scope that’s an ideal choice for hunting game around 200-300 yards away, and at different times of the day. Its durability and supreme light transmission make it a great choice for extending hunts where failure isn’t an option.
4. Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9x40mm BDC Waterproof Matte Riflescope
The Nikon Buckmasters II continues Nikon’s habits of excellence with magnification settings between 3x and 9x. This versatile series of ranges provides it with great capabilities at closer or farther ranges, especially since it features excellent eye relief along each of its zoom settings.
It’s further improved thanks to a multicoated lens that improves light transmission and durability. In fact, this scope provides quite a good sight picture, with brightness remaining consistent throughout most hours of the day. The scope is waterproof and fog proof, as well, making it a good choice in any weather condition.
Like the Crossfire 2, this scope features a BDC reticle that can allow you to estimate bullet drop off before you pull the trigger. This will help you at the longer zoom levels available, plus work well with the eye box incorporated with the scope, which is responsive, snappy, and which works well with its generous eye relief amounts.
- Features BDC reticle
- Has good eye relief at all levels
- Is perfect for hunting in any weather
- Sight picture is typically quite bright
- Mounting can be tricky with some rifles
- Brightness drops sharply at dusk or dawn
The Final Verdict
The Nikon Buckmasters II is a great scope for hunting in bright light conditions and at shorter ranges. The BDC reticle is still a nice touch even if it’s only going to be used at the upper end of the magnification levels, especially for this asking price.
5. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire
This is another scope in the Crossfire II line, featuring a shorter series of magnification levels between 2x and 7x. It’s an excellent choice for target practice or hunting within 200 yards or so. The lenses are fully multicoated to provide bright sight pictures and reduce reflection or glares from bright daylight conditions.
Furthermore, the scope features long eye relief and a very forgiving eye box, plus a snappy eyepiece to let you focus your reticle quickly. It’s made from aircraft-grade aluminum, is waterproof and fog proof, and features capped reset adjustment turrets.
This reticle is a popular choice for all-purpose hunting situations. It’s located on the second focal plane and maintains the same appearance no matter what zoom setting you’re on. Since this scope doesn’t change magnification drastically, this isn’t really a disadvantage. This reticle’s simplicity and minimalism make it a good choice for targeting creatures that might blend in with the hunting environment.
- Very good, all-purpose hunting reticle
- Durable overall
- Lenses provide good image brightness
- Turrets reset snappily
- Detail diminishes at edge of field of view
- 7x quality is notably lesser
The Final Verdict
Overall, the Crossfire II Rimfire is a snappier, closer-range variant of the Crossfire line and well worth its low asking price. As far as versatile, all-purpose hunting scopes go, it effectively straddles the line between high quality and affordability.
Concluding our Best Scopes Under $200 Guide
The right scope for you depends on a lot of factors: focal plane, magnification settings, and more. Hopefully you found an ideal scope for your next hunting trip above. Thanks for reading and we hope to see you again soon!
If you are interested to read more of our articles you can check our full review of Burris Fast Fire 3.