Best Rifle Scope Under $200 – The 5 Best Optics in 2024

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As an experienced hunter, I know how challenging it can be to find top-tier rifle scopes that fit within a budget. That’s why I took it upon myself to extensively test and evaluate numerous rifle scopes under $200. I’m here to share my findings and help you discover the best scope for your needs without breaking the bank.

Best Scope Under $200 – My Top Pick

If you don’t have time to read the whole guide, here is a quick answer. The best scope for me under $200 is the Vortex Crossfire II 4-12×44. With its variable magnification and sturdy built it is a top choice in this budget range. See a more detailed review below.

My 5 Best Rifle Scopes Under $200

1. Vortex Crossfire II 4-12×44 Riflescope BDC MOA – Best Overall

Vortex Optics CF2-31015 Vortex Crossfire 2 4-12x44 Riflescope Deadhold BDC MOA

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During my testing, I found the Vortex Crossfire II with 4-12x magnification is, overall, the best optic for under $200. There are a lot of reasons for this, so let’s take a deeper dive.

My Feelings After Using the Scope

Right off the bat, I have to say that the scope’s magnification ranges are phenomenal for a variety of hunting experiences. 4-12x magnification means, in my experience, you’ll be able to hit targets at many different ranges, so it’s a stellar scope if you want an all-purpose optic that will suit you in most circumstances. During my numerous hunting trips, the versatility of this magnification range proved invaluable. I could seamlessly switch from a broad view at 4x to a more focused view at 12x, allowing for adaptability across different terrains and target distances.

The Crossfire II scope comes with multicoated lenses, which are defensive and anti-reflective. In a nutshell, I found that these prevented the lenses from getting scratched or dented, plus they prevented sun glare from affecting my shooting experience. The clarity of the glass is remarkable, providing crisp and vibrant images even in low-light conditions. This was particularly evident during early morning hunts, where the contrast and brightness were much superior to other scopes I’ve used in the past.

That’s not all. The Crossfire II boasts excellent aircraft-grade aluminum construction, plus capped finger adjustable windage and elevation adjustment turrets. I really liked that these can be reset to zero and that they click audibly each time you turn them; that’s a major bonus for ensuring you never have to take your eye off the target. After several adjustments during a windy day, the turrets maintained their accuracy and precision. They showed no signs of wear or play, which speaks volumes about their durability and craftsmanship.

Product Highlights

However, the thing I noticed the most with the Crossfire II was the dead hold BDC or bullet drop compensation reticle. This special reticle has unique hash marks to help you (and me) measure or estimate bullet drop at long distances. This makes the Crossfire II an excellent school for long-distance shooting, even though it is an SFP scope. Combined with the fast-focus eyepiece integrated into the optic, it’s clear that the Crossfire II has a lot to like. I spent significant time testing the reticle’s accuracy at different ranges and found it exceptionally helpful for estimating bullet drop, especially beyond 200 yards. This feature significantly improved my long-range shooting accuracy.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

The only real issue I found was a lack of magnification clarity at higher zoom ranges. In essence, the higher you zoom this optic, the worse clarity you’ll see. This became evident when targeting at distances greater than 300 yards, where I noticed a noticeable drop in image sharpness. To mitigate this, I found that maintaining the magnification at or below 10x provided the best balance between zoom and clarity. However, I don’t know if it’s an issue with the entire line of Crossfire II scopes or just my model – your mileage may vary on this point.

Key Features

  • SFP scope
  • 4-12x magnification
  • 44mm objective lens


  • Excellent eye relief
  • Great windage and elevation turrets
  • Sturdy construction
  • Great lenses


  • Sight picture clarity and eye relief aren’t the best at higher zoom settings

The Bottom Line

All in all, the Crossfire II scope is a stellar piece of equipment for a very affordable price, particularly at short to mid ranges. It deserves to be called the best rifle scope under $200. In terms of ergonomics, the scope’s design is user-friendly, but it does require some time to get accustomed to the various features. The learning curve is worth it, given the scope’s overall performance. After extensive testing in various conditions, it’s clear that this scope offers a great balance between functionality, durability, and affordability.

My rating: 4.8/5

2. UTG 3-12×44 Compact Scope UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, Rings

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The UTG 3-12×44 Compact Scope has a lot of things going for it, particularly considering the fact that it is available for under $200.

My Feelings After Using the Scope

In my experience, this UTG scope is a phenomenal pick for short to medium-range shooting. It features excellent zero locking and zero resetting target turrets, allowing you to adjust for windage and elevation and eliminate parallax completely when needed. I found the turrets to be fun and easy to use without any issues. During a recent varmint hunting trip, I was impressed by how quickly and accurately I could adjust for elevation and windage, making it much easier to hit small, moving targets at various ranges.

The scope as a whole is durable and designed for longevity. Aircraft grade aluminum, plus an angled front sunshade, protects the scope and prevents the lenses from being affected too much by sun glare, even in noontime light. Despite being exposed to rough handling during my outings, the body of the scope showed remarkable resistance to wear and tear.

I also appreciated the flip-open lens caps which came with the purchase. Again, remember that you get this scope for less than $200; the addition of the lens caps just gives you even more value for money. The lens caps, although a small addition, were handy in protecting the lens during transport and in dusty conditions.

Product Highlights

I liked the lenses and reticles with this scope, and they marked the highlight of the UTG optic for me as a firearm enthusiast. That’s because the lenses feature some of the best coatings on the market, specifically multi-emerald coatings. As a result, they feature higher light transmission and greater durability than usual. When looking through the scope at dawn and dusk, the clarity and brightness of the image were exceptional, significantly enhancing my shooting experience in low light conditions.

Then there’s the 36-color illuminated reticle. Since the reticle is designed for durability, it’ll stay bright and shining even if you pair this optic with a high-recoil weapon. I found that the illuminated reticle was very good for shooting in lowlight environments. The variety of colors available in the illuminated reticle was especially useful in different terrains and backgrounds, making it easier to maintain focus on the target.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

The UTG is only really held back by the looseness of its turret mounts. These can sometimes shake loose under heavy recoil, negating the scope’s overall effectiveness for high-recoil weapons. Keep an eye on your windage and elevation turrets as you take shots, as they may shift here and there in between rounds. In addition, if you bump into the windage and elevation turrets, you may accidentally move them without thinking about it. To counter this, I had to regularly check and re-tighten the turrets, especially after using the scope on high-recoil rifles.

Key Features

  • 3-12x magnification
  • 44mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Excellent construction overall
  • Good turrets for the most part
  • Lenses and illuminated reticle are phenomenal


  • Windage and elevation turrets can be loose
  • Less forgiving eye relief at higher magnifications

The Bottom Line

Overall, I found the UTG scope to be an excellent optic for under $200 thanks to its construction, affordability, and illuminated reticle. While it performs exceptionally in most scenarios, the occasional need for turret adjustment and the challenge with eye relief at higher magnifications are points to consider. However, these are minor compared to the overall value and performance the scope offers, especially for those looking for a versatile, budget-friendly optic.

My rating: 4.7/5

3. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm RiflescopeLeupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope

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I definitely wanted to try out some of the most affordable Leupold scopes for this review, and I’m pleased to say that the VX-Freedom scope is well worth your time and money.

My Feeling After Using the Product

The VX-Freedom optic has a set of quality lenses and a simplistic duplex reticle. The lenses are scratch-resistant, so they will withstand a lot of wear and tear without receiving significant damage or compromising your sight picture. During a recent hunting trip in a rugged environment, I accidentally dropped the scope, but to my relief, the lenses remained unscathed, a testament to their durability. The duplex reticle pairs perfectly with those lenses to help you hit your targets without cluttering your field of view. I particularly noticed the reticle’s performance while targeting small game, as it provided a clear and unobstructed view, making for precise shots.

I found that the windage and elevation turrets were excellent, as well. As I tinkered with them, I found that they precisely adjusted with each twitch of my fingers, allowing me to compensate for those variables easily and consistently. However, I did observe that in extremely cold conditions, the turrets were a bit stiffer to adjust, though this did not significantly hinder their overall performance.

The VX-Freedom even had an excellent exterior. The durable construction is waterproof and fog proof, and it boasts a matte finish to reduce glare and flashing is off the surface of your scope. I really liked this feature during my time with the VX-Freedom since it helped me maintain a stealthy presence in the field. This matte finish proved especially beneficial during a sunny day hunt, as it minimized reflections and kept my position concealed.

Product Highlights

But I want to highlight the proprietary Twilight Light Management System. In essence, this TLMS is a special way of positioning the lenses within the scope. Leupold uses this to give you about 10 extra minutes of shooting light at dawn or dusk.

Since these are some of the most popular hunting times during the day, I thought this was an excellent addition to the optic. On top of that, you don’t have to do anything to make the Management System kick in. It’s not a setting or anything that runs on battery power. In fact, I did find the name of it strange. It’s more like a design feature of the scope as opposed to a triggerable system.

During a late hunt, I clearly noticed the benefit of the TLMS, as it enhanced visibility in low light conditions, allowing me to take accurate shots even as daylight faded.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

Though the duplex reticle is simplistic and easy to use, it doesn’t have any holdover points. That means you may need to practice with this scope for a little while before you become fully comfortable with it. For seasoned shooters used to more complex reticles, this simplicity might feel limiting initially.

In addition, the turrets, while they audibly click with each adjustment, do so softly. Again, this “problem” isn’t a big deal and can be “solved” just by spending some time with the scope like I did. I found that in noisy environments, like near a waterfall during one of my trips, it was challenging to hear the clicks, but I quickly adapted to feeling them instead.

Key Features

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


  • TLMS gives you extra shooting light
  • Lenses are sturdy and well-designed
  • Very durable scope overall
  • Turrets are pretty good


  • Some aspects of the scope may take some getting used to
  • The eye relief, while adequate, required precise positioning at higher magnifications

The Bottom Line

In the end, I would heartily recommend the VX-Freedom scope for those looking for affordable, effective optics for under $200 thanks to the Twilight Light Management System alone. The robust build quality and lens clarity further enhance its value. The other aspects of this scope just sweeten the deal in my eyes.

My rating: 4.2/5

4. Burris Fullfield II 3-9x40mm RiflescopeBurris Optics Fullfield E1 Riflescope 4.5-14x42mm, Matte Black (os) (200344)

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Burris has a variety of affordable, quality optics, and the Fullfield II is no different. I found there were plenty of pros to this scope without very many cons.

My Feelings After Using the Scope

For starters, this is a relatively high-tech scope for under $200, featuring an integrated eyepiece. With the eyepiece, I was able to adjust optical settings in the field and quickly sight-in to my targets. I reckon that even novice hunters will be able to use this feature to excellent effect. During a recent hunting trip in a densely forested area, the ease of adjusting the eyepiece was particularly beneficial, allowing for quick focus adjustments as I moved through different lighting conditions and distances.

I also really appreciated the lenses, which come with multiple coatings for added durability and light transmission. The clarity and brightness of the glass were evident when I used the scope during a low-light morning hunt. The image was crisp and detailed, significantly enhancing my ability to spot and track game. The rest of the scope is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, plus it uses special gas seals to ensure weatherproof functionality. That’s always a good thing, especially since you may take this optic into a variety of different hunting environments. In fact, during a rainy outing, the scope remained fog-free and functional, a testament to its robust weatherproofing.

Then there are the windage and elevation turrets. These, like the rest of the scope, have a matte black finish to reduce glare, and they maneuver precisely with finger-adjusted changes. While testing the turrets, I found their adjustments to be accurate and repeatable, which was crucial during a long-range shooting session. I found that the Fullfield II comes with a lifetime warranty, adding even more value for money and peace of mind.

Product Highlights

The lenses in particular deserve some extra note. I found that they were made of high-grade optical glass, ensuring top-tier light transmission even when I tried this scope on cloudy days.

The Hi-Lume coatings also do a great job of reducing glare frequency, so I didn’t see any need to worry about the sun messing up an optimal shot on my part. The Hi-Lume coatings also helped in enhancing the contrast and sharpness of the image, which was especially noticeable when targeting against a cluttered background. These coatings are supposed to last for several years without any drop in quality, although I haven’t yet tested the scope for several years without end to put that claim to the test!

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

On the downside, the Fullfield II’s eye relief isn’t the best in the industry (though that’s someone to be expected for less than $200). I would recommend experimenting with the scope a few times at least so you get a feel for how much it bucks in your hands. That way, you won’t accidentally injure your eye because of a high recoil shot. In my experience, the eye relief was somewhat limiting during rapid shooting scenarios, requiring me to adjust my position frequently.

Furthermore, the lenses can be a bit fragile to high recoil. With that in mind, I would recommend only using the Fullfield II with firearms that have manageable or middling recoil at most. When I paired it with a high-recoil rifle, I noticed a slight shift in the reticle alignment after several rounds, indicating the need for cautious pairing with firearms.

Key Features

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


  • Lenses are great at transmitting light
  • Sturdy body
  • Good windage and elevation turrets
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty


  • Scope can be vulnerable to high recoil
  • Eye relief could be better

The Bottom Line

All in all, the Fullfield II has more advantages than it does downsides. I’d recommend this for those looking for an affordable, effective optic for low-recoil weapons, like varmint shooters.

My rating: 3/5

5. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Rimfire

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Rimfire, Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescope - V-Plex Reticle

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I also found another Vortex Optics Crossfire II rifle in my search for the best scopes for under $200. This rimfire scope is an ideal choice for rimfire rifles for more reasons than one.

My Feelings After Using the Scope

This Crossfire II has a shorter series of magnification levels than the above-mentioned model, but that’s not necessarily a downside. You can use this scope effectively for short-range shooting, like varmint hunting, as a result. The lenses are multicoated to offer bright sight pictures and to reduce glares and reflection if you shoot in bright daytime light. During a recent small game hunting expedition, this feature proved invaluable as the light conditions changed from dawn to full sunlight, and the images remained clear and bright throughout.

The eye box, I noticed, is also highly forgiving. It’s complemented by a very snappy eyepiece, allowing you to focus on the reticle and target quickly. That’s a great feature when you are trying to track a fast-moving, small target through the underbrush. I found this particularly helpful when shooting at moving rabbits, as I was able to quickly acquire and maintain a clear sight picture despite their erratic movements.

The Crossfire II also comes with a body of aircraft-grade aluminum. Thanks to the quality standards maintained by Vortex, it’s totally waterproof and fog proof. This durability was evident when the scope accidentally endured a light fall during a hike; it sustained no damage or loss of zero. The windage and elevation turrets are capped and resettable with just your finger, adding even more ease of use.

Product Highlights

I really liked the special v-plex reticle. This all-purpose reticle is on the second focal plane and is minimalist and streamlined: perfect for hitting small targets that might blend into their backgrounds. Again, this highlights this scope’s suitability for varmint hunting or for tracking and hitting small, fast-moving targets in the field.

However, if you are a marksman who prefers more complex reticles with additional holdover points, this could be a downside rather than a benefit. It all depends on your personal preferences and experience with different firearm optics.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

All that said, the Crossfire II does suffer from detail problems at the edge of your field of view (FOV). For example, I found that using the Crossfire II scope at 7x magnification resulted in a noticeably worse shooting experience. This was particularly evident when trying to focus on small, distant targets, where the details at the edges became somewhat blurred.

This could be different for you if you pick up a different scope, but it also might be an issue with the optic line overall. If you have the same issue, should you choose to purchase this scope, let me know and I will update this review accordingly.

Key Features

  • 2-7x magnification
  • SFP scope
  • 32mm objective lens


  • Excellent body and construction overall
  • Good windage and elevation turrets
  • Generally excellent lenses
  • Good eye relief and eye box


  • Issues with clarity at edge of field of view
  • 7x magnification is worse than others

The Bottom Line

Overall, this Crossfire II variant is an excellent scope for any rimfire rifle you have in your armory, so consider picking it up for less than $200. Despite its limitations at higher magnifications, its robust build, ease of use, and clear optics at lower magnifications make it a solid choice for short-range shooting and hunting.

My rating: 3.8/5

What to Consider When Buying a Rifle Scope Under $200

Let me start by saying that there are indeed plenty of excellent rifle scopes available in this price range. These scopes manage to strike a balance between outstanding features, durability, and affordability. However, it’s important to note that not every scope is perfect for every hunter. There’s a wide variety to choose from, and it’s crucial to consider a few key factors before making your final purchase. Allow me to guide you through the process.

First and foremost, take a moment to explore my comprehensive buying guide. It’s packed with valuable information that will help you understand what truly makes a scope perfect for you. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and find the ideal scope for your weapon on the very first try.

Now, let’s talk about the scopes themselves. Within the sub-$200 range, you’ll find a plethora of options that combine impressive features, durability, and affordability. Each scope has its own unique qualities, catering to different hunting preferences and styles. That’s why it’s crucial to keep a few factors in mind before finalizing your purchase.

Consider the magnification range offered by each scope. Think about the distances at which you typically hunt and the level of magnification you require to ensure a clear, precise shot. Additionally, pay attention to the quality of the optics, as this will directly impact your visibility and target acquisition in the field.

Durability is another vital aspect to consider. As a hunter, your equipment needs to withstand rugged conditions and harsh environments. Look for scopes that are built to last, featuring robust construction and reliable weatherproofing.

Finally, consider any additional features that may enhance your hunting experience. Features like illuminated reticles, adjustable turrets, or parallax adjustments can greatly improve your accuracy and versatility in the field.

By taking these factors into account, you’ll be well on your way to choosing the ideal scope for your needs within your budget. So, browse through the options I’ve carefully curated for you and make an educated decision. Remember, finding the right scope is a vital step towards a successful hunt. Good luck and happy hunting!

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 my 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. I’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.

Reticle Improvements

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, I’ve selected a few scopes under $200 with this feature, I am a fan of BDC reticles.

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 I 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, I have tried excellent scopes under $200 that are waterproof for you to check out below.

Concluding my 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.

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