Best Crossbow Scopes Reviewed and Rated

Accuracy isn’t just about the person behind the crossbow and comes down to having the right materials. A crossbow scope is a great way to enhance your equipment without adding a lot of bulk.

There are many recommended brands that have come out over the years, with a lot of them being featured in top ten lists worldwide. So which ones are still considered the cream of the crop? Here are the top ten best crossbow scopes in the world featuring both recognizable and smaller brands.

Last Updated:
By Kevin Enochs:

Hello Bowhunters. We've updated our list with a new product from Hammers that really hits the sweet spot of great value and solid construction and great features. So take a look. We've also double checked our pricing and links to make sure you're getting the best of the best.

Featured Recommendations

  • BSA
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 5 MOA red dot
  • Price: See Here
  • Nikon
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • BDC reticle 60
  • Price: See Here
  • Hawke
  • 4.2 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 1 pound
  • Price: See Here

Best Brands

BSA, SA Sports, Barnett, Hawke and UTG are the big names to look out for. These brands have a focus on being non-bulky and accurate, with a smattering of innovative features thrown in. Most of the big names will not take a lot of risks with their features that may alienate the core base of hunters, for example with extra weight. With a good portion of crossbow hunters having their specs memorized, throwing in some extra bulk for the sake of a new feature won’t help with sales. That’s where some of the other brands come in, because there is a small group of users that don’t mind out of the ordinary features. Remember that when picking a brand, as those subtle differences will help with your choice.

Maintenance and Cleaning Tips

Making sure the lens of the crossbow scope is clean will keep you from having to take advantage of the warranty. Besides general care with a microfiber cloth, you should also look into purchasing caps to put on them when the scope is not in use. There is nothing more infuriating than damaging your scope when you’re not even using it. Buyers that opt for the higher end scopes usually make it a point to forego the caps and purchase small custom cases for their crossbow scopes. It may seem like overkill, but if you value attention to detail like any crossbow user then this will turn into a necessary cost.

10 Best Crossbow Scopes


1. BSA RD30

1. BSA RD30
BSA made the #1 spot, and it may very well anger a lot of fans of Nikon products. But millions of crossbow users worldwide love their BSA models, and this is considered one of the best the company has ever made.

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The smallest on the list, this scope is almost half the size of every scope on the list. And it doesn’t add anything to its girth because of the small size. Crossbow users sometimes just want an accessory that will do its intended job, and nothing more.

Features and Specifications

5 MOA red dot
11 Position rheostat
Brightness controls
One year limited warranty
3 Volt lithium battery included
Weighs 9.6 ounces
Dimensions are 5.2×4.8×3


This is the lowest priced scope on the list, so the value is tremendous. For the price of one of these you’re essentially paying for a decent dinner out by yourself. Buyers that need to purchase multiple scopes will especially find this model beneficial.

Decision Time

Make no mistake about it, this is the bare necessities when it comes to crossbow scopes- and that’s what makes it so perfect. With only what you need, they cut down the cost to make this the most useful crossbow scope in the industry.
  • Lowest price on the list
  • Only contains functions you will use
  • Long lasting and easily replaceable battery
  • Barely goes out of alignment
  • No hassle mounting for all level users
  • No illumination
  • No magnification

2. Nikon Bolt XR

2. Nikon Bolt XR
Nikon has been a leader in the optics industry for years and does not hold back with its Bolt XR. The fun thing about this model is that it can be interchanged with the #1 model on the list according to taste. Yes, the #1 and #2 crossbow scopes sit in an island all on their own.

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Nikon stands behind all of the equipment they make and has made it a point to honor countless warranties. Besides making leading DSLR cameras and other optical equipment, Nikon has been good at sharing their technology across all of their equipment. That means the industry leading lens on their cameras are in the same family as the lens on their crossbow products.

Features and Specifications

Large and fully multicoated lens
Compact design for better handling
32mm objective lens
BDC reticle 60
Zero reset turrets
4 inches of eye relief
1 inches long
Quick focus eyepiece


Without any illumination it may be a tough sell for some users. If the price was higher then it wouldn’t even be this high on the list. For customers that can live without the illumination, this is a perfect crossbow scope at around the mid-high price range.

Decision Time

Nikon not adding illumination to this model is the only thing that kept it out of the #1 spot. Buyers that do the bulk of their shooting in the day can live without it and enjoy an incredible product with years of features built into it.

3. Hawke HK3259

3. Hawke HK3259
Getting into the top 3 is the Hawke Crossbow, another one of the high end choices on the list. Very few scopes can compete head to head with this model. There are hordes of users that love the overall feel of it, and despite the advanced features it’s very easy to use.

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Made For High End Crossbows

Hawke made this model specifically for crossbows, so there is an added advantage of using it compared to hybrid models. You’ll get all of the benefits of a superior crossbow scope that is ahead of its time. The tailor made sizing also makes it a very good fit for crossbow models that are picky about their add-ons.

Features and Specifications

Crossbow speed selector
1 inch multicoated optics
Green/Red illuminated colors
Weighs 1 pound
Uses standard 2032 batteries


It’s one of the highest priced on the list, but is also a clear top 3 victor. Customers that want a crossbow specific scope won’t have a problem justifying the cost for this model.

Decision Time

When you are shopping for high end crossbow scopes one of the best models to look at is this Hawke Crossbow. Gain a lot of prime features and get access to one of the best scopes in the industry.
  • Extremely accurate
  • Can be matched to any bow for optimum settings
  • High level of light transmission
  • Precision reticle works at 10 yard intervals between 20-100 yards
  • Compact and lightweight
  • High priced
  • Sighting takes a little work


If going by just looks alone, then this UTG model would be the best on the list. But there are many other factors that go into making a great crossbow scope, and that is just one. In its current state there are enough reasons to consider it a top model and a high end pick at the current low price.

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Built For Multiple Weapons

Crossbow scopes can sometimes be used with guns and vice versa. This particular UTG model is able to be used with both without a loss in features. Buyers that own multiple weapons with similar mounts will find this a fascinating little scope that saves them a lot of time and money.

Features and Specifications

Built on the TS platform
Parallax at 50 yards
Flip open lens caps
UTG QD rings included
Zero reset/Locking Wind and elevation knobs
RGB sidewheel illumination
Broadband lens coating
5 step reticle
4×32 magnification


Low in price and bursting with potential, this is about as good as it gets with this price range. Not a lot of scopes on the list will be able to match all of the features it offers without alienating the beginner user. UTG outdid themselves with this scope, and it shows on multiple weapons.

Decision Time

There aren’t a lot of unsatisfied customers that made this purchase, and it has been one of the best sellers for UTG. Customers that need a great crossbow scope that looks and plays the part will settle with this model.
  • Loaded with features but beginner friendly
  • Knobs are not in a bad place
  • Adjustments are easy to make
  • Flip open lens cap protects your investment
  • Compact and compatible with bows or guns
  • Best looking scope on the list
  • In the middle when it comes to weight
  • Out of the box it comes adjusted too high

5. Barnett 17060

5. Barnett 17060
This Barnett Cross model may not win for best crossbow scope on the list but it really comes close. There are a lot of things to play with in this model since the company went all out with adjustments. Crossbow users that are perfectionist will have a warm place in their hearts for this scope that puts them in full control.

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Great Clarity

The biggest feature with this unit is the 4x magnification from the scope. Everything looks clear and detailed, even on its best setting. On the lowest magnification you’ll find that there are few available scopes that can compete with the richness of color and handling of light.

Features and Specifications

Water resistant and Shock proof
Five point programmed multi-reticle crosshair system
High compatibility with crossbows
32 millimeter scope
875 inch dovetail mounting rings
4x magnification


Like a few other scopes on the list, this one may be a bit troublesome for beginners. That still shouldn’t take away from its overall value if the buyer is willing to do some work. The price is low, and puts it in a pretty elite category.

Decision Time

Barnett makes some pretty good crossbow equipment and this falls right in line with some of their best. Even if it is suited for more experienced crossbow users, this is a scope that everyone should try out at least once.
  • Great light handling
  • Magnification doesn’t cause a huge hit to detail
  • Lots of customization options
  • One of the top scopes for rapid target acquisition
  • Trusted brand
  • Best compatibility of any scope on the list
  • Would’ve been nice to have higher magnification
  • Bad fit for a beginner

6. SA Sports 550

6. SA Sports 550
It’s the little things that make this particular model from SA Sports stand out, starting with its very welcoming price. The size and design are one of the best this list has to offer, and for a lot of people this is the most balanced scope available in this price range.

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The 550 Is a Beast

The SA Sports 550 has been used in competitions, for hunting and even for hobbies. From top to bottom it was made for the general crossbow user in mind, and there isn’t a single feature that was added without given thought to its function. This is a well-rounded, balanced and much respected crossbow scope.

Features and Specifications

Multiple sight points
Illuminate and standard black reticle
Includes dust covers, cleaning cloth and hex key
Glass lenses with etched reticle
Green and red rheostat controls
Full aluminum tube


You’re going to get what you pay for and then some thanks to the massive amount of work that went into making this scope. With all the people that swear by the 550 model, you really can’t go wrong with the low price they are asking for it.

Decision Time

The SA Sports 550 is a trusted model that you can always depend on for accuracy. It still remains the go to choice for any crossbow user that is having trouble deciding between multiple models of the same price.
  • One of the most respected models in the industry
  • Black reticle is available when the power is off
  • Comes with a lot of extras
  • Great brightness levels at night
  • Easy to mount
  • Lightweight
  • Requires a lot of first time adjustment
  • Not beginner friendly

7. TenPoint HCA-09811

7. TenPoint HCA-09811
When the Rangemaster Pro 1.5 first came out there was a core group of people that really appreciated the amount of detail put into the scope. Even when the Rangermaster 1.5 wasn’t raising the standards, it was defining what the future of crossbow scopes should look like.

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Light Handling

How it handles the loss of light transmission is pretty solid, reducing it by a lot. Buyers can thank the multicoated etched glass reticle and superior build quality for this little perk. If you’re looking for a comparison with other products on the list in how well the Rangermaster Pro 1.5 handles light, then look in the top 1-4 range.

Features and Specifications

Full aluminum tubing
3 Duplex crosshairs and 4 dots
Freestanding fourth dot
Settings for variable speed and arrow drop compensation
Multi-coated 1.5x to 5x optics
30mm tube diameter
Tube length is 8.25 inches
7/8 mounting rings included


This one is going to be a bit tough for the average buyer. If the Rangemaster Pro 1.5 was a little less expensive then it would have easily vaulted to the top 3 on the list. This is one of the best crossbow scopes you can purchase, and its value will be recognized by anyone that wants a high end scope.

Decision Time

One of the original and best scopes of all time is still an amazing experience for the price. When the time comes and you want to do an upgrade to end all upgrades, then this will turn out to be money well spent.
  • High class aluminum tubing
  • Crosshairs and dots are calibrated for 20-50 yards
  • Etched glass reticle
  • Requires no adjustment for distances
  • Illuminated red or green dots
  • Average weight
  • Expensive

8. Excalibur Tact-Zone

8. Excalibur Tact-Zone
Now this is where things get a little tricky for the everyday crossbow user. The Excalibur Tact-Zone is the result of years of research, combining traditional crossbow scope technologies with newer ones. This model represents something special, and a step in an exciting new direction.

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Although the Illumination feature is top of the line, this is more important for the longevity of its use. Excalibur has crafted an amazingly durable tube, and it can take some damage from just about any source. With this coming in as one of the highest price on the list, that’s an important fact that shouldn’t be ignored.

Features and Specifications

Tact-Zone reticle
Red/Green Illuminated yardage markers
6x32mm Tube
Etched reticle construction
Adjustable between 275 fps and 410 fps
Half inch click adjustments at 20 yards


There is a high price tag associated with this model, but it is a high end product. Crossbow scopes like these tend to do everything a little bit better than other competing products, and the Excalibur is considered to be tops when it comes to durability.

Decision Time

A scope that is built like a tank is always a great buy no matter how you look at it. There are enough top grade features even beyond the durability that make this a prime target for any crossbow user.
  • Compact
  • Perfect speed adjustment dial
  • High quality tube
  • Illumination improves accuracy
  • Better reticle design than other Excalibur models
  • Durable but one of the heaviest on the list
  • A bit bulky

9. Hammers Compact Crossbow Scope

9. Hammers Compact Crossbow Scope
The advanced specifications of the Hammers Compact will leave a lot of buyers surprised. There are some really cool features that are both revolutionary and fined tuned with this model. If your setup is correct, customizing this to fit accuracy will take a short amount of time. Even if it is high up on the top ten list, the Hammers Crossbow is quite an exceptional model.

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A lot of eye relief
Eye relief can make the difference between a good and a bad shot. When you have your crossbow setup exactly the way that you want, the last thing you need is a scope messing up the precision. With an incredible 4 inches of eye relief, precision problems will fade away to the past.

Features and Specifications
Fully coated lenses
Fingertip windage and elevation adjustment with leaf spring
Scratch resistant finish
Non-reflective finish
Reticle uses special range and trajectory technology
Aluminum one piece tube
4×32 magnification

Cost and Value
With the entire unit being low priced, buyers will get their money’s worth. The only thing it is missing would be some of the extras that similar units come with. Missing those extras are not a deal breaker and doesn’t lower the value.
  • Eye relief is perfect
  • Contrast is improved with this version
  • Professional looking matte finish
  • Durable tube that can take some hits
  • No worthwhile extras
  • A little heavy

10. SA Sports 551

10. SA Sports 551
Some of the most well-known hunters in the world have run across an SA Sports model here and there. This particular one has gained some pretty good ground compared to the others on the market. A lot of the nice reviews have to do with it not going overboard with the features, leading to some pretty good overall performance.

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Nice Magnification

This model has good magnification that in some situations can border on being great. Buyers will notice it most at the highest setting, which is usually when a lot of lesser models start to lose major detail. But this SA Sports model keeps things pretty clear at all levels.

Features and Specifications

4×32 magnification
Comes with Allen Hex key
Lens cleaning cloth
Dust covers
Weaver style rings
Weighs 8.8 ounces


You’re going to get good value from this scope since it is so low priced, and seems to have all of the basic stuff needed for a good crossbow scope. The only thing that keeps it from being higher up on the list is that it lacks ‘killer’ features.

Decision Time

The price is right and the features that you need most are available with this model. With the amount of extras they’re throwing in, the bundle pays for itself over time.
  • Lightweight
  • Low price
  • Good magnification even at highest settings
  • Comes with a lot of extras
  • Easy to adjust
  • Great for low light
  • Good but not great magnification
  • Slightly bulky compared to other models

Criteria For Evaluation

Some of the finer points with crossbow criteria came down to user preference, like eye relief. So to keep things fair, we didn’t include criteria that falls in line with individual preference. But we did include things that would affect users, like the ease of use in changing the eye relief of the product. It kept the top ten honest, and led to a lot of smaller companies making the list. Top brands from the #1-3 spot were BSA, Nikon and Hawke. They separated themselves from the pack, even with a list that contains some of the best crossbow scopes in the industry.

Reticle Quality

crossbow scope reticle

Reticle quality is the only way to start, and it was a big one for us. We were only interested in the very best optics in each product, so any scope that fell in this criteria stood no chance on the list. Reticle quality was rated on the damage resistance of the lens, crispness, clarity and whether it displayed an exact image. Some reticles change small things like colors when you’re zoomed in which is something that can change your targeting priority. Looking through a reticle should be as close to the naked eye as possible, even in low light conditions (if illuminated). Users of all levels will have no trouble installing a crossbow scope.


Even if the instructions are bad, there is plenty of help available online and in shops. But it should never come to that, so our next criteria was based on the included instructions. In rare cases, some companies didn’t even bother going into detail with their products. We considered this a reason to leave some scopes off of the list, even if they were easy to install. Points were given for clear instructions, and more points were given if the company directed the user to their website for further tutorials.


Weight was a criterion that was based on the lightness of the product. With a crossbow, the way the scope sits on it can really impact the shot. Having a scope that is light lessens fatigue when you’re using it for hours a day. Things can get more complicated when it is heavy and the balance is off, leaving you little room to negotiate. A light crossbow scope doesn’t mess with the balance of your current equipment and is the reason we favored it. With this criteria, we dropped a lot of the heavier models, even if they had great specifications in other areas.


Crossbows will take some bumps here and there but should survive the bulk of your daily encounters. Any attached equipment is expected to have similar durability, so we looked at the scopes with the highest resistance to weather and damage. This was more about the housing of the product and its buttons rather than the reticle, which was covered earlier. This criterion was interesting for two reasons; some products had strong reticles but weak housing, while others had weak housing but a brilliant reticle. We adjusted the list as needed since even in that situation reticle quality was a higher priority with the points.


Branding was the next criterion, and this is where companies like Nikon really shined. We looked at branding as a whole, based on warranty, customer service, proprietary features and industry rankings. There is a reason the top dogs are always mentioned, and it is how familiar names remained at the top. But this also opened the door for lesser-known names, with some of them offering equally superior customer service and warranty programs. And while the lesser names didn’t have proprietary features, they improved greatly on features that were lacking from the bigger brands.


crossbow design

Design was a criterion that seemed like it would fall into the individual preference area but doesn’t. Crossbows have limited space compared to larger items like a bow. So the scopes for crossbows can’t be bulky in an unnecessary way. Slim is better in this case if it doesn’t take away from wanted features. We eliminated some of the better choices that were still on the list due to their extra bulk. Some fared better than others in this department, while others just got in the way.


Price is something we spent a little time on, and then decided to include as a criterion. Prices for the scopes varied, and it became noticeable with some top brand names. We did come quick feature by feature comparisons and eliminated or moved products on the list if they didn’t offer more than an equally competing scope that cost less. There were quite a few that were eliminated because they were literal mirror images of other brands. We still showed favoritism towards proven brand names if they were competing with an untrusted brand of equal features.


The last thing we checked was accessories, which covered a wide range of things. We first looked at what was included out of the box like lens caps, microfiber cloths, adjustment screws and more. Next, we revisited prices, but only for the cost of the accessories if they weren’t included. To be fair, we included the cost of compatible generic accessories with the branded ones. The higher the price, the lower the crossbow scope went on the list. We didn’t take away too many points since a lot of the accessories mentioned aren’t game changers for most buyers. But it does make a difference to the overall cost of the item if you don’t get everything you need from the start.


Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: Are Hybrid Scopes The Better Buy?

A: Only if you plan on using them for anything other than a crossbow. Buying a hybrid scope won’t be much of a deal if you only use it for crossbows. Customers that own both guns and bows will get the most use out of hybrids.

Q: How Important Is Illumination?

A: Illuminated scopes help you to hunt better when the light is not plentiful, but it is not a replacement for night vision scope features. It’s a nice thing to have, but not entirely necessary if you usually hunt where there is decent light.

Q: Should I Always Keep One Type Of Scope Across All My Weapons?

cross bow scope setting up

A: You don’t have to, but it is helpful. For those few times that your scope gets out of alignment, getting used to setting up one scope and then having to do something completely different for another can be a pain. Having one model across all weapons (or a hybrid) has advantages of saving time.

Q: How Difficult Is It For Beginners To Use Advanced Features?

A: That’s entirely a user issue. The advanced features were set up to be used by at least intermediate users. So while one beginner may grasp some of the sighting concepts, another may have trouble. The best way to figure it out is to be honest with yourself about your current crossbow level.

Q: Can You Use A Non-Crossbow Scope?

A: Buyers aren’t limited to using crossbow scopes with their equipment, but it is recommended. To get the most out of the features the companies are advertising, you have to buy a crossbow scope. There is also a lot of extra configuring that goes into modifying a non-crossbow scope. Technical users can definitely make it work, but other users should stick primarily to the compatible products where they can use all of the intended features. Other things to think about include the warranty which can be voided when a product is used on an incompatible product. To save money upfront and possibly on the tail end, stick to crossbow scopes.

Q: How Much Experience Is Necessary?

A: You don’t need a world of experience to deal with the main features of a crossbow scope. There are some advanced modes that take a little time to get used to, but all of it can be learned in a short amount of time. Mastery is what takes the longest, and it includes things like eye relief, range and adjusting on the fly. Getting these settings just the way you like within a few seconds is beneficial when the time is short, so practice is the key. Some brands do a good job including detailed instructions which are great for learning the finer features of the product.

Q: What Are The Benefits?

A: Accuracy is the biggest benefit of using a crossbow scope. With good magnification, anyone can improve their shot tenfold. A missed shot can cause prey to scatter, ruining an entire day of hunting. And for target practice, being off by half an inch will lose you a lot of points. With the use of a scope, you can scout entire areas without moving from your current position. Dawn shots are even enhanced if the crossbow scope has an illuminated reticle, one of the prized features to aim for. Crossbow scopes put the user in full control of their weapon and let them concentrate on hitting their target with one shot.

Q: Which Brands Are The Best?

A: Crossbow scopes depend heavily on visual quality, so they are very much an optical reliant product. Because of this, brands like Nikon, Bushnell, and UTG will instantly be recognizable by the masses. Their dominance with optical equipment like cameras has made them top choices across several categories. For crossbow scopes, their lenses are second to none and makes them valuable at any price. There are plenty of other top brands that deserve attention, but the rule is if you want to find the best companies for crossbow scopes, then you have to look at their lineup of other optical equipment. This is the best way to compare their quality from one industry to the next.

Q: Should Sighting The Scope Be A Priority During Setup?

A: The logical thing to do when setting up a crossbow scope for the first time is to sight it. Sighting a scope adjusts it so that it works best with your current equipment. Never depend on the factory sightings out of the box, as that is a universal setting that won’t always be optimal. But to look at it from another point of view, if this is your first scope, then it may benefit you to leave it at the current settings for the first day. Shoot some targets in a closed setting, get a feel of the equipment, then during or after that first-day sight it correctly. New users get so wrapped up in sighting their scopes that they forget to test out basic features that will determine if they even want to keep it.

Q: Does Having A High-Quality Reticle Make A Difference?


A: Yes, because once again crossbow scopes live or die based on their optical quality. Having a low quality optical will turn a magnified target into a blurry mess. And at its worst, you will have a better shot nailing a target without the scope than with it. High-quality reticles are the main priority when buying crossbow scopes. They should be clear, resistant to damage and from a trusted brand. And if the glass gets damaged, don’t use the scope until it’s repaired or replaced. Buyers have a range of options within the market, and they all feature top-tier reticles to choose from.

Q: What Is The Point Of Illumination?

A: A scope with an illuminated reticle allows you to see targets in low light conditions, and sometimes at night. The latter is not always an option, and is based on the quality of the crossbow scope you plan to use. It is a huge performance booster, and when used properly can change the entire experience. Batteries are usually included and will last the lifetime of the product. Getting replacement batteries are cheap, plentiful and can usually be handled by going to a brick and mortar store. Chances are most users won’t even need to go this route, as the illumination uses very little power, even when at the brightest setting.

Q: What Is Considered Good Eye Relief?

A: Most crossbow scopes have long eye relief by default, which is a little bit different if you’re used to a regular bow. For some customers, this isn’t a big deal, and for others, it is a bit jarring. Some of this will be tied to the type of rail you use, but it is mostly up to the manufacturer and how they design the scope. Pads or riser can solve this problem instantly and requires no technical knowledge. If you’re willing to take the time to get the eye relief correct, then it will pay off big time when you get it just right. As for the original question, there is no such thing as a universal eye relief. Everyone is different, and what works for one person may be a nightmare for the next. It is just best to find your sweet spot and work with the scope you purchased.

Q: How Difficult Is Installation?

A: Buyers don’t need any experience with installation of a scope for any product. Attaching a crossbow scope is easy and painless, even for new users. The current rail system was put in place for ease of use, and there are plenty of videos and tutorials to guide users through the process. There is a good chance you won’t even have to go beyond the basic instructions provided. Top brands do really well providing clear instructions for their products, with the bulk of them not having installation instructions that much different from one another.

How to Make the Best Decision

Price really isn’t a big deal when it comes to crossbow scopes, so don’t think too much about it. The best item on the list is the cheapest, while the item in the #2 spot is one of the most expensive. Prices tend to be more related to the advanced features a company offers, which is exactly what you should be looking at. Getting the wrong crossbow scope can really mess with your enjoyment of using your primary weapon, so look more for a scope that has useful features rather than one that agrees with your wallet. Remember that a great crossbow scope pays for itself within the first year, so a high costing scope really shouldn’t be that much of a turnoff.

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