Best Rifle Scope Under $300 – The 5 Best Optics in 2024

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Finding a rifle scope that balances budget and quality can be quite a challenge, but I‘ve got you covered! I‘ve tested various scopes to find the best ones under $300, suitable for a wide range of needs and preferences. I‘ll also help you figure out which scope is perfect for you with my buying guide. So, let‘s dive in

Best Scope Under $300 – My Top Pick

After all the scopes I tested, the Vortex Crossfire II 6-18x SFP is the best scope under $300 you can buy at the moment for me. It offers enough magnification for most shooting applications and is solidly built. Read my detailed review below.

My 5 Top Rifle Scopes Under $300

Besides my top choice you can find 4 other scopes below, which are also very good.

1. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-18x SFP Riflescope – Best Overall

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-18x44 AO SFP Riflescope Dead-Hold BDC MOA

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Vortex Optics makes some of the best rifle scopes in the business, so I wasn’t surprised to find that the Crossfire II is one of the best rifle scopes under $300. Let me break it down for you in more detail.

My Feelings After Using the Product

The Crossfire II is a versatile, affordable scope that has good magnification settings, particularly for mid to long-range shooters. I found that the eye box was very forgiving and comfortable, which combines well with the scope’s excellent eye relief. During an accuracy test at a range, I spent several hours using this scope, and the comfortable eye box really came in handy for preventing eye fatigue.

On top of that, the Crossfire II’s focusable objective is perfect for clarifying your sight picture. During my test  I was targeting small objects at varying distances, and the focusable objective allowed for crisp, clear viewing at each range. The parallax removal knob is ideal for getting rid of that factor at long-distance ranges, which I really appreciated.

I also noticed that the antireflective, multicoated lenses were phenomenal, transmitting lots of light and reducing any incidents of glare from sunlight. Suffice it to say that I had a great time with the Crossfire II, with basically no real downside.

Product Highlights

Especially notable, for me at least, was the BDC or bullet drop compensation reticle. In a nutshell, this special reticle has hash marks to let you compensate for bullet drop at long distances. I greatly enjoyed this special reticle since it didn’t clutter the sight picture too much, but still allowed me to hit those really long-distance shots capably. On an occasion, I was practicing in a windy prairie range over 500 yards. The BDC reticle’s hash marks gave me the confidence to make a successful shot despite the challenging conditions.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

If I had to complain about anything with the Crossfire II, it would be that the lower zoom levels sometimes have questionable side image quality. However, this could have been an issue with my particular Crossfire II model and not something universal to the optic.

I didn’t order another copy of this scope to see if the issue would persist. In my opinion, if you purchase a Crossfire II scope and also noticed that your side image is a bit blurry or less than stellar, send it back right away. Even better, send me a message so I can update this review and let others know that there’s a problem with the manufacturing process.

Key Features

  • 6-18x magnification
  • 40mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Excellent eye relief and eye box
  • Good BDC reticle
  • High-quality lenses
  • Durable scope overall


  • Side image quality can be questionable at lower zoom levels

The Bottom Line

All in all, I found the Vortex Optics Crossfire II to be a phenomenal scope for under $300, so consider picking it up if you want something capable and consistent without breaking the bank.

My rating: 4.9/5

2. Primary Arms SLX 1-6x24mm SFP Rifle Scope

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The Primary Arms SLX rifle scope is another quality optic, and I found a variety of things to enjoy during my time with the scope.

My Feelings After Using the Product

For under $300, the Primary Arms SLX has a lot to like, such as good short to middle-range magnification settings (especially for moving targets up to about 500 yards). Bolstering that are the multicoated lenses. In my experience, these lenses had excellent light transmission and were fairly durable thanks to their special, protective coatings. I observed the superior light transmission during an overcast afternoon, where the view through the scope remained bright and clear.

The scope overall is equally impressive in terms of resilience. It’s reasonably light but supremely durable, a trait which I put to the test during a rough mountainous hike, its aircraft-grade aluminum construction withstanding the journey without a hitch. I also discovered that the Primary Arms scope was waterproof and had fog resistance integrated into its body, which was particularly evident during a misty morning hunt where the clarity of my sight picture remained uncompromised.

Even better, I really liked that there was a lifetime warranty available for this scope right out of the box. I had plenty of peace of mind as I was using this optic and experimenting with it, knowing that I could get my money back if there was an issue.

Product Highlights

Out of everything, however, the ACSS reticle was the most notable feature in my mind. This specially designed reticle sits on the second focal plane and has a chevron-style center. In essence, this is an infinitely small aiming point that allows you to keep your target consistent no matter how many times you swap to the magnification ranges. It’s a great combination with SFP lenses, especially since it also has bullet drop compensation holdover points baked into its vertices.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

The only real problem I noticed with the Primary Arms SLX was the low battery life for the reticle. The reticle is illuminated by default, but it will only last for a few dozen hours before you need to replace it. Keep that in mind if you plan to rely on this scope as your primary nighttime optic. You can alternatively remember to turn the reticle illumination off if you aren’t using it (always a wise idea no matter what optic you purchase).

Key Features

  • 1-6x magnification
  • 24mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Excellent reticle overall
  • Durable construction
  • Good warranty


  • Reticle battery doesn’t last for very long

The Bottom Line

All in all, the Primary Arms SLX is a stellar scope for under $300 thanks to its illuminated, specially designed reticle and its construction.

My rating: 4.8/5

3. Bushnell Banner 6-18x50mm RiflescopeBushnell Banner 6-18x50mm Riflescope, Dusk & Dawn Hunting Riflescope with Multi-X Reticle

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In my search for the best Scopes under $300, I found the Bushnell Banner scope to be a top choice thanks to its versatility and phenomenal features.

My Feelings After Using the Product

The Bushnell Banner is highly affordable and effective, providing IPX7 waterproof construction. That means you can easily and reliably use it in inclement weather or in any hunting environment. The O-ring sealing procedure helps the optic’s mechanical pieces stay dry and functional; it can even be immersed in up to 3 feet of water for 30 minutes, so it certainly impressed me from the start. 

However, I also appreciated the finger-adjustable windage and elevation adjustment turrets. When I tested the turrets, they offered tactile and responsive feedback, making adjusting for either of these factors quick and simple.

I also really liked that the Bushnell Banner scope came with a limited lifetime warranty. This gave me the confidence to use the scope without having to be too gentle with it, and it’s something I imagine can provide peace of mind to budget-minded shooters.

Product Highlights

I especially liked the Bushnell Banner’s Dawn and Dusk Brightness (DBB) multicoated lenses. During an early morning deer hunting expedition, these lenses showcased their worth, providing phenomenal, top-tier light transmission and color contrast, even in the low-light conditions. Each time I sighted in to a target, I found the picture to be clear and easy to read, a huge advantage when shooting at the upper magnification range offered by this rifle scope.

On top of that, the lenses are protected by armored coatings. Since the glass lenses are the most fragile parts of many scopes, I found this to be an excellent advantage. I didn’t have to worry about the lenses being worn down or diminished in any way by things like dirt, water, etc.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

While the windage and elevation turrets function properly, they don’t come with any markings. That’s more of a problem with beginning hunters and riflemen, but it’s an issue for everyone. Mark these for yourself, or spend some time using the Bushnell Banner scope and getting used to its turrets to overcome this overall minor downside.

Key Features

  • 6-18x magnification
  • 50mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Has a limited lifetime warranty
  • Great coated lenses with excellent light transmission
  • Windage and elevation turrets are responsive
  • Very durable


  • Windage and elevation turrets aren’t marked

The Bottom Line

In the end, the Bushnell Banner is a great rifle scope for under $300, particularly for those who want a quality, consistent piece of equipment that will provide stellar sight pictures for a long time to come.

My rating: 4.7/5

4. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9×50 SFPVortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9x50 SFP Riflescope V-Brite Illuminated MOA

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Vortex Optics returns once again, as I discovered an alternative model of the Crossfire II is very much worth your time and money, especially since it’s also under $300.

My Feelings After Using the Product

This variation of the Crossfire II has different magnification settings, in addition to a fast-focus eyepiece. I found that the fast-focus eyepiece was an excellent addition to the scope overall, as it helped me focus on my reticle and acquire targets very quickly, even if those targets were very small. As with the above Crossfire II model, this variation had generous eye relief and a great eye box.

On top of that, the Crossfire II 3-9x scope has fantastic antireflective, multicoated lenses. These ensure optimal light transmission and long-term durability, no matter where you choose to hunt. The rest of the scope is similarly durable, boasting waterproof and fog proof functionality.

Then there are the turrets. The windage and elevation adjustment turrets are finger adjustable, tactile, and can be reset to zero in just seconds. I really liked that they are mounted in good positions on the scope’s body, adding to ease of use.

Product Highlights

The V-brite reticle is the standout feature of this Crossfire II. This illuminated reticle, with its bright dot, came in handy during a dusk deer hunting expedition, ensuring accurate and consistent shots even in the low-light conditions.

You’ll notice that there’s a small space between the dot and crosshairs, which I found to be a considerable advantage during a pest control mission in the backyard, allowing quick sight-in to smaller pests like rats and raccoons without any hindrance, a feature that many crosshair designs lack.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

Overall, the only real issue with the Crossfire II that I noticed was a bit of blurriness at 9x magnification. Furthermore, if you turn the illuminated reticle up to be too bright, you might notice that it messes with your accuracy. That last issue can easily be solved by finding a brightness level that you are comfortable with, however. Spend some time experimenting with the scope before taking it into the field, and you’ll be much more comfortable with it.

Key Features

  • 3-9x magnification
  • 50mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Excellent illuminated reticle
  • Windage and elevation turrets are great
  • Scope is durable and perfect for hunting in any weather


  • Reticle can be too bright
  • Some blurriness at 9x magnification

The Bottom Line

Overall, this Crossfire II scope is another good choice if you’re looking for a quality, versatile optic for under $300. Consider it if you want a special reticle tailored for hunting small varmints and fast-moving creatures in the underbrush.

My rating: 4.6/5

5. Monstrum G2 6-24×50 FFP Rifle Scope Monstrum G2 6-24x50 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated Rangefinder Reticle and Parallax Adjustment | Flat Dark Earth

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In my time with this Monstrum G2 scope, I found some excellent points and some potential downsides you should keep in mind before pulling the trigger on this possible purchase.

My Feelings After Using the Product

The Monstrum G2 comes from a reputable, if not quite as well-known, manufacturer, offering versatile magnification settings between six and 24x. The 50mm objective lens offers excellent eye relief, even up to 4.5 inches. During an extended shooting session with my heavy-recoil .308 Winchester, this feature truly made a difference in comfort and stability.

In a tricky shooting scenario involving crosswinds at the range, I found the windage, elevation, and parallax turrets extremely handy. These knobs are easy to adjust and offer tactile responses, enabling swift corrections without losing sight of my target.

The rest of the scope is mostly noticeable thanks to the purchase’s conclusions. Picatinny scope mounting rings, a sunshade, a cleaning cloth, lens covers, and even a drawstring carry bag are included with your purchase. In my mind, that’s a lot of value for money for less than $300!

Product Highlights

However, I’d also like to point out the rangefinder reticle. This FFP scope features a special rangefinder reticle that offers extra target information, enabling you to hit those long-range shots that really impress you and your friends. Thus, I might recommend this Monstrum G2 scope for sharpshooters or aspiring long-range hunters. The reticle can even be illuminated in red or green with different brightness settings.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

Even though the Monstrum G2 has a lot to like, I unfortunately found that the scope tended to fog up in certain inclement weather. I would only recommend taking this scope out when you’re hunting expedition is unlikely to be affected by bad weather as a result.

On top of that, the lenses are far from the best in the industry, and light transmission could certainly be better. This is more of a downside if you shoot during dawn or dusk. But since many hunters do shoot during those hours (because they are when animals are active), it certainly drags the scope down when it would otherwise be a very impressive piece of equipment.

Key Features

  • FFP scope
  • 6-24x magnification
  • 50mm objective lens


  • Rangefinder reticle is useful and novel, and can be illuminated
  • Has lots of accessories
  • Excellent eye relief


  • Not the best light transmission
  • Has a tendency to fog up sometimes

The Bottom Line

Overall, the Monstrum G2 is a decent enough scope for less than $300, and it’s a good choice for long-distance hunters who don’t plan to spend too much time in the field while it is foggy or wet out.

My rating: 4.5/5

What to Look for in a Rifle Scope Under $300

In my experience, rifle scopes under $300 can vary greatly in terms of their material construction, focal plane position, and magnification settings. By considering all these factors and more, I was able to pick the best scope for my needs on my first try, and I‘m sure you will too.

Reticle Improvements

Arguably the most crucial element I’ve discovered in my extensive scope testing is the reticle. You see, as a hunter, I know that the reticle can make all the difference in the field. So, when it comes to scopes under $300, I made sure to thoroughly investigate and evaluate the reticles they offer.

Let me give you an example. Some of the scopes I’ve chosen boast a remarkable feature called BDC, or bullet drop compensation, reticles. These reticles are designed with special holdover points or hash marks at the bottom. Now, why are they so special? Well, they help me estimate the bullet drop and maintain ultimate accuracy in my shots, all based on my zeroed setting.

When targeting distant animals or points, these BDC reticles prove to be a real game-changer. They automatically compensate for the bullet drop caused by gravity, allowing me to be more precise at long distances. And the best part is that the holdover points on a BDC reticle are easy to see through, which means my accuracy isn’t compromised like with some other reticles out there.

Of course, there are other reticles that offer additional enhancements. Some of the top-notch scopes under $300 even feature reticles that can glow brightly, ensuring visibility during the brightest parts of the day or in the darkest nights. I’m talking about special illumination controls that allow me to adjust the brightness of the reticle on the fly. And guess what? Some of these reticles even come in different colors, like red or green, giving me the option to switch between them.

In the end, the accuracy and effectiveness of a scope’s reticle will most likely determine my overall success as a hunter. That’s why I carefully consider the type of reticle offered by each of the scopes on my list. Each of the scopes under $300 that I’ve tested has something unique to offer in terms of their reticles. So, if you want to maximize your chances of picking the perfect reticle for your needs, take the time to explore the options I’ve laid out for you. Trust me, it’ll be worth it when you’re out there in the wild, aiming for that perfect shot.

Check my guides in other price ranges:

First or Second Focal Plane?

The best scopes under $300 can also vary based on their reticle positioning. Reticles on the first focal plane will change size slightly as you switch between magnification settings. These settings will cause the reticle to become smaller (if you zoom out) or larger (if you zoom in).

However, while the reticle itself will change in size, the holdover estimation points, useful for adjusting for windage or elevation, will remain accurate relative to the distance of your target. Naturally, this makes it much easier to hit targets if they move frequently or are running away. This type of reticle is often slightly more difficult for beginners to become proficient with, however.

Reticles on the second focal plane won’t move no matter where you shift the magnification setting. This makes them easier to use in general, but it does mean that you have to estimate the real windage or elevation adjustments needed from your holdover points since these are only truly accurate for one magnification level on the scope.

Overall, marksmen can prefer either type of reticle based on their experience level or just their comfort. It’s up to you which type of reticle is preferred for your scope, which is why I offered scopes of both varieties on my list of the best.

Magnification Levels

When it comes to scopes under $300, one important aspect I focused on during my  testing was the magnification settings. As a hunter, I know that the right magnification can make or break a hunt. So, let’s dive into the details and find the best scope for our needs.

Now, pay close attention to the advertised magnification settings offered by each scope. You see, not all scopes are created equal, and their maximum magnification settings vary. Some scopes are designed for general hunting situations and offer maximum magnification settings of around 12x to 15x. These scopes are perfect for most hunting scenarios where a versatile option is needed.

On the other hand, if you’re into long-distance hunting or target practice, you’ll want a scope with higher maximum magnification settings, closer to 24x. These scopes are specifically built to handle those challenging shots at greater distances.

But here’s the thing—there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The magnification setting you choose depends on what you’ll primarily be using the scope for. Take a moment to reflect on your hunting style and the typical shooting ranges you encounter. This will help you make an informed decision when it comes to picking the right magnification settings for your needs.

Now, let me break it down for you. Scopes with a magnification of 10x or greater are incredibly versatile. They excel at hunting within a range of 1000 yards or more. However, they truly shine in the 300-500 yard range, where their capabilities are unmatched. These scopes offer the flexibility to adapt to different hunting situations and provide the necessary clarity and precision for those longer shots.

On the flip side, scopes with lower magnification levels are better suited for hunting within the 200 to 400-yard range. These scopes work exceptionally well, particularly when dealing with moving targets. They provide a wider field of view, making it easier to acquire and track fast-moving animals.

So, take into account your hunting preferences and the ranges you typically encounter. Consider the information I’ve laid out here, and you’ll find excellent examples of rifle scopes with magnification settings that align with your specific needs. Remember, choosing the right magnification can significantly impact your success out in the field, so choose wisely and hunt with confidence.

Eye Relief

Finally, let me draw your attention to an important consideration when it comes to scopes under $300—the available eye relief. As a seasoned hunter, I’ve come to appreciate the significance of eye relief in my scope selection process. Allow me to shed some light on this crucial aspect.

Eye relief refers to the distance at which your eye can comfortably see the full viewing angle provided by the scope. In simpler terms, it’s the maximum distance at which you can position your eye and still have a clear and unobstructed view through the scope lens.

Scopes with longer eye relief offer the advantage of allowing you to position your eye farther from the physical edge of the scope. Now, why does this matter, you might ask? Well, imagine you’re using a rifle with a good kick of recoil after each shot. In such cases, you’ll definitely want a scope with ample eye relief, typically measured in inches. This extra distance ensures that there’s enough space between your eye and the scope when the rifle recoils.

Why is this important? It prevents those painful accidents where the scope abruptly jerks back and makes unwelcome contact with your eye. Trust me, the last thing you want is a serious bruise or any other injury caused by the scope’s recoil. So, if you anticipate using a rifle with significant recoil, prioritize scopes with greater eye relief to ensure your safety and comfort.

However, if you plan to use a rifle that doesn’t have much recoil, you won’t need as much eye relief. The amount of eye relief you choose ultimately depends on the specific characteristics of your rifle and your personal preferences.

Remember, finding the optimal eye relief value for your rifle scope is a decision you need to make based on your individual needs and circumstances. That’s why I’ve included scopes with varying eye relief levels in our selection below. This way, you have the flexibility to choose the one that best suits your requirements.

So, as you consider the scopes I’ve provided, factor in the eye relief and make a wise choice that ensures both safety and an enhanced hunting experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a rifle scope under $300 still good?

Yes! When comparing scopes priced under $300 to those priced higher, you shouldn’t expect anything less. Many brands can now create high-quality scopes for a fraction of the price. This is a huge benefit for our budget-conscious hunters and shooters.

You may expect high definition photos from the best scopes under $300 if they have a superior optical system and optimal light transmission qualities. You may also anticipate high-quality scratch-resistant and anti-glare glasses.

With your $300, you can get a scope with decent magnification power that can be used for both long-range and short-range shooting. You can also acquire one with a fine reticle, which provides exact aiming points for the best accuracy while aiming and shooting at a target. Windage and elevation turrets that are easily adjustable and allow for frequent and precise changes are also expected.

What magnification do I need for 500 yards?

5x magnification is the best magnification level for hitting a target at roughly 500 yards. Some argue that a level of 10x would be even better.

When will I need the parallax adjustment?

When you’re planning to use the rifle scope for long-range tactical shooting, you’ll need to adjust the parallax. In this case, parallax adjustment ensures that the shot is perfect by removing the parallax mistake.

What should be the perfect objective lens size?

Ideally, your objective lens should be 50mm. This offers improved quality of images in lower light conditions.

What scope do I need for 200 yards?

For shooting targets at 200 yards, a good magnification range is 3x to 7x.

Concluding my Best Scopes Under $300 Guide

All in all, each of these scopes is phenomenal in its own right, but one might be your favorite. Is it our choice for the best long-range scope under $300, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-18x SFP Riflescope? Or is the Primary Arms SLX SFP Rifle Scope with its specialized ACSS reticle? Whatever you decide, thanks for reading and good hunting!

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