Shotguns are among the most popular choices of weapons when it comes to home and personal defense.
So, if you’re a citizen of the US, the chances are that you already have a shotgun lying around your house. But, while they may be perfect for close range combat, are they any good for hunting?
Well, in our opinion, they are the best choice for small game hunting, especially over shorter distances. In fact, with the right scope, you can even hunt accurately up to a distance of 300 yards!
How is that even possible, you ask? We’ve read reviews, scoured multiple forums, and asked for the opinion of many users to select four of the very best. And one scope stands well above the rest when it comes to accuracy over a long-range.
Read along to find out which.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying a Shotgun Scope
Before we go on to talk about the best shotgun scopes, let’s discuss the factors to keep in mind while buying one. The following points will help you lock down on the scope that fits your needs the best.
Needless to say, the quality of the optics can make or break your shooting experience. And the easiest way to figure out which scope will have the best optics is to check the type of coating it uses.
Scopes with fully-multicoated optics are the very best you can buy. However, they are significantly costlier than multicoated or fully coated optics.
If you need to choose between multicoated and fully coated optics, we would suggest going for multicoated.
One of the most common reticle designs for shotgun scopes is the diamond reticle. It is a no-nonsense design which works quite well up to a distance of 75 yards. However, for long-range shooting (200 – 300 yards), Nikon’s BDC (Ballistic Drop Compensation) is surely the way to go.
Always go for scopes which are built to withstand extreme weather conditions. So before buying your next shotgun scope, make sure that it is waterproof, fog-proof, and also shockproof. Apart from that do check how many times can the scope withstand recoil.
Shotgun scopes can vary a lot in price depending on the quality of optics and brand. So, our advice would be to lock down on a price range before you start weighing which feature works the best for your needs.
The 4 Best Shotgun Scopes
1. Nikon Prostaff P3 Shotgun 2-7X32 BDC 200 Riflescope
When it comes to rifle scopes, Nikon is easily one of the most familiar names in the business. Not only are their optics top notch, but their reticle technology and durability are among the best.
If you’ve been following Nikon scopes for a while, you might be wondering if this model is the same as the highly popular Nikon Prostaff Shotgun Hunter 2-7 x 32 rifle scope. Well, it’s even better than that. In fact, this is the successor to the Prostaff Shotgun Hunter.
Now, let’s find out what makes the Prostaff P3 Shotgun Riflescope one of the best shotgun scopes available today.
What makes the Nikon Prostaff P3 the ideal shotgun scope?
While Nikon products may seem priced on the higher side, there are some areas where you just can’t fault the brand. Take the shotgun optics for instance; the Prostaff P3 comes with a fully multicoated optical system which not only provides clear and crisp sight pictures but also significantly improves low light visibility.
In fact, under dimly lit, cloudy conditions, the Prostaff P3 outperforms the rest of the scopes on this list by a long shot. That alone makes it worth the significantly higher price tag.
However, it’s not just the optics which make the Nikon Prostaff P3 a class apart from its competition, one of the features that longtime Nikon fans absolutely adore is the highly intuitive BDC 200 Reticle.
In fact, the BDC 200 reticle can transform your close-range shotgun to a highly accurate medium-range weapon, which is ideal for small game hunting. In fact, the Ballistic Drop Compensation reticle has four ballistic circle aiming points to make up for the drop that occurs at 100, 150, 175 and 200 yards respectively. The center of the crossfire is designed to be accurate up to 50 yards.
In our opinion, when you couple the reticle design with the quick focus eyepiece and the generous 3.8 inches of eye relief, the scope works highly accurately, especially if you use the typical polymer-tipped sabot slugs. And if you’re a little adventurous, you can even shoot accurately up to a little over 300 yards.
When it comes to the durability, there is no faulting Nikon. The Prostaff P3 is among the most durable shotgun scopes available on sale today. Moreover, it is quite lightweight.
But, all the merits of the Prostaff P3 come at a price. And that price tag may be a little hard to swallow when you compare it to the rest of the scopes on this list. On the flip side, if you want nothing but the best scope for your shotgun, then this is the one to go for.
- Quality of optics is unmatched
- BDC 200 reticle is very accurate up to 200 yards
- Highly durable and reliable
- Priced on the higher side
2. Simmons Prodiamond Shotgun 4x32mm Prohunter Riflescope
Although the Simmons brand may not be a familiar name in the world of rifle scopes, the Prodiamond Shotgun Prohunter Riflescope surely brought them under our radar.
Not only do their scopes offer great bang for your buck, but they are also surprisingly reliable. But, in case you aren’t convinced with the quality of their products, Simmons offers a lifetime warranty.
So, how good is the Prodiamond Shotgun Prohunter Riflescope compared to the Prostaff P3 we featured earlier? Well, read along to find out.
Is the Simmons Shotgun Riflescope a worthy pick?
Now, before we proceed with the review, let’s make one thing clear – the Simmons Prodiamond Shotgun Prohunter is not an alternative to the Nikon product we reviewed earlier.
While the Nikon scope can effectively convert your shotgun to a highly accurate weapon up to 200 yards, this scope’s reticle, on the other hand, does not provide any compensation for the bullet drop. And so, you can expect an accuracy of up to 50 yards if you only depend on the reticle.
So, it’s time to stop reading the review and go for the Nikon scope, right? Well, not so fast! The Nikon product is almost three times as expensive as this scope. And if you are only planning on using your shotgun for some casual small game hunting, then the premium price tag of the Prostaff P3 just doesn’t make sense.
Now, let’s talk about some of the things that make the Prodiamond Shotgun Prohunter Riflescope one of the best in its class. This scope comes with multicoated optics (not the same as fully multicoated optics), and that makes the images crisp and clear even under cloudy conditions. In fact, it’s almost as good as the Prostaff P3. And that’s saying something!
Even the quick focus eyepiece, or as Simmons likes to call it Quick Target Acquisition (QTA) eyepiece, works quite well. As advertised by Simmons, it comes with an eye-relief of 4 inches. However, according to some users, it falls a little short of 3.8 inches. But, that is not bad by any means.
Apart from the optics and the quick focus eyepiece, the Simmons scope fares quite well when it comes to the durability. In fact, this scope is waterproof, dustproof and is tested to withstand up to 1000 rounds recoil from a .375 H&H Magnum rifle or 12-gauge slug gun firing a 3.5″ shell.
All in all, the Simmons Prodiamond Shotgun Prohunter Riflescope is an excellent product for the price. And you won’t go wrong with it as long as your shooting range is limited to 75 yards.
- Excellent optics for the price
- Durability is class-leading
- Quick eye focus and decent eye relief
- Prodiamond reticle is more of a gimmick
3. TRUGLO 4x32mm Compact Shotgun Scope
Now, you may not have heard of the brand TRUGLO, but that doesn’t mean their products aren’t worth checking out. In fact, like Simmons, TRUGLO manufactures good quality scopes at a very affordable price. And just like the Simmons scope, it too comes with a lifetime warranty.
Obviously, at its price point, it cannot compete with the best on our list, but, how does it fare against the Simmons Prodiamond Shotgun Prohunter Riflescope? Let’s find out.
How good is the TRUGLO 4x32mm Compact Shotgun Scope?
While the Simmons scope optics was multicoated, the TRUGLO, on the other hand, offers fully coated lenses. As you might already know multicoated optics are generally superior to fully coated lenses. And it holds true in this case as well.
Compared to the Simmons product, the images produced by the Compact Shotgun Scope in dimly lit situations is worse, albeit slightly. However, in bright conditions, it’s hard to tell them apart.
Like the Simmons scope, the TRUGLO Compact Shotgun Scope comes with a diamond reticle, which is ideal for shotguns. However, unlike Simmons, the company doesn’t overhype the reticle.
The diamond reticle works really well up to a distance of 50 yards. And with some adjustment to the bullet drop compensation, you can even shoot with high accuracy up to 75 yards. In other words, this scope was on par with the Simmons product.
When it comes to build quality, the TRUGLO feels quite sturdy. This scope is fog proof, waterproof, and even shock resistant. Moreover, the matte finish of that scope is not only scratch-resistant, but also non-reflective. However, when you compare it with the Simmons scope, the build quality falls just short of that.
Although the TRUGLO wasn’t able to beat the Simmons product in any category till now, there is one area where it certainly outshines the latter. This scope is available in two different finishes – matte black and camo. And if you have a gun to suit the camo style, we’d suggest paying the extra for it.
- Priced well for what it offers
- Good image quality under bright conditions
- Well built
- Falls a bit short under dimly lit situations
4. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope
If you’ve dabbled with binoculars before, then the Bushnell name should surely be familiar to you. They are one of the largest manufacturers in the field of binoculars, and it’s not surprising why. The quality of their optics is simply top-notch.
So, a rifle scope from one of the best binocular manufacturers in the business should be good, right? Well, that’s what we’re about to find out.
How good is the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot for a shotgun?
Now, the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight isn’t a traditional scope like the ones featured before. Heck, it wasn’t even built for a shotgun. But before you scroll up to the products featured above, and make your pick from those, just hear us out.
As you might know, sabot slugs do not experience any significant drop up to a distance of 50 yards. And at that range, this red dot sight is certainly a great alternative to the traditional scopes. Moreover, it performs admirably in both dimly lit and extremely bright conditions due to its multicoated optics.
However, as the distance increases, it becomes significantly tougher to aim with this scope compared to the traditional ones featured earlier.
When it comes to the build quality, Bushnell yet again delivers with a 100% waterproof, fog proof and shockproof construction. And it is powered by a CR2032 battery, which should last you over a year with light to moderate usage.
All in all, the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight performs rather well for a shotgun scope. And even though it’s not primarily built for a shotgun, we believe it absolutely deserves a spot on our list.
You can check our full review of this Red Dot here.
- Works well in both dimly lit and bright environments
- Extremely well built for the price
- Good battery life
- Harder to aim at longer distances
Well, that about wraps up our reviews of the best shotgun scopes available on the market today.
In our opinion, if you want to convert your shotgun to a rather versatile weapon, you should certainly go for the Nikon Prostaff P3 riflescope. However, if long-range hunting isn’t your cup of tea, any of the other products should do the job just fine.
If you end up purchasing one of the above products, do share your experiences with us. We would love to hear from you.
Till next time! If you like long range shooting, check our 6.5 Creedmoor guide.