Best Shotgun Scopes Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Let's answer the obvious question, why in the world would I need a scope for my shotgun? It's not like a shotgun is going to allow any sniper like feats of bravado. We're assuming you're going for doves, ducks, and turkeys from fairly close range, so what is a scope going to do for a shotgun hunter. Well, believe it or not, a good scope could have a fairly significant impact on your hunt. It will allow you to keep your bead on your target, and it will allow a clearer view of your target. Since traditionally shotguns get the short end of the stick as far as accessories go, we'll be taking a look at the best shotgun scopes available in the market. Now let's check out the cream of the crop in this (hopefully) growing market.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Easy to see ballistic circles provide instant aiming-points
Simple field adjustments
Great for long range
- Nikon ProStaff 2-7 x 32 Black Matte
- Simmons Prohunter Prodiamond
- CvLife 1X22X33 Red Green Dot
- Konus 7249 Black Powder
- Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm Compact
- Simmons 517793 Prodiamond
- Nikon SlugHunter BDC 200
- Ozark Armament Rhino Red/Green Dot Sight
- Nikon ProStaff BDC 200
- Truglo Compact 4x32 Strut N Rut
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Shotgun Scopes
1. Nikon ProStaff 2-7 x 32 Black Matte
Easy to see ballistic circles provide instant aiming-points
Simple field adjustments
Great for long range
It does the job, but that’s it
Reticles don’t hold true
Right off the bat, this is a slick looking scope. This boasts no-nonsense performance with lightning-quick adjustments, instant aiming points, and plenty of eye relief keeping you safe from recoil. That way, you can get in there and take your shot quickly and accurately, then move on to the next, worry-free.Read more
Instant Aiming Points
There are times, I’m sure, that when you’re out in the field, there’s a lot going on at once, making it difficult to pinpoint your target without multiple distractions getting in your way. The ballistic circles included here make that issue go away, providing you with instant aiming points to keep your mind clear.
Look Way Out There
Let’s be honest for a second. You’re not going to take aim at too many targets at very long range with a shotgun. On those rare occasions that you do, however, most likely with a slug instead of buckshot, You’re going to need to know that you have a scope that can do the job. This bad boy here will hold up beautifully.
Cost and Value
This is easily a higher priced option but won't leave you feeling like you overpaid at all. The wealth of features, for both safety and convenience, give you plenty of bang for your buck. Yes, that pun WAS intentional. You're welcome.
2. Simmons Prohunter Prodiamond
Scope holds up well
Great for turkey shooting
Magnification knob very stiff
Tough to keep adjusted
Simmons scope makes the list. They must know what they're doing. Like all Simmons scopes, it boasts fully coated optics, is completely water and fog proof, and generally runs the gamut of all the requirements needed to produce a quality scope.Read more
Clear as Day
Yes, it’s true, most of the scopes on the list share fully coated optics as a feature. What sets this one apart from the rest of the pack (except the other Simmons scope above) is the incredible quality of said optics that produce a stunning HD image.
Ballistic Aiming Circles
Putting those high-quality optics to good use is the pinpoint accuracy of this scope. Throw them in with quick target acquisition and you’ll always find yourself with something to shoot, and the best chance you can get to hit it.
Cost and Value
It's a mid-range priced scope meant to outperform its price point, which it does admirably. To me, that puts it up there as one of the best values out there.
3. CvLife 1X22X33 Red Green Dot
Waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof
Multi-coated optics for a clear view
Scope adjust the picture for varying yardage
Does not come with scope caps
Does not come with mounting hardware for all types
Trophy? If you're buying this scope, that's what you'll be getting. The CVLIFE 1X22X33 Red Green Dot Gun Scope is designed to be a superior product for big game hunting. They gave this one great optics for maximum clarity, and it’s small enough to stay out of your way when it really counts.Read more
It doesn’t matter how or high quality your shotgun scope is if you can’t manage to get it to fit onto your firearm. Luckily, the designers went out of their way to make sure that their scope goes on easily.
Built for the Elements
Fireproof. Fogproof. Shockproof. With all that solid protection, it almost sounds like a challenge to try to push this scope to its limits. Well, you are welcome to try, but your chances of success are not that high.
Cost and Value
This is a bit of an oddly shaped scope, but don’t let that discourage you for one second. On the plus side, it’s very well priced, and you'll know exactly what you're getting for the money.
4. Konus 7249 Black Powder
Glass etched reticle
Works great with slugs
Optics not the best
Poor quality scope covers
The Konus 7249 Shotgun Black Powder Riflescope has a glass etched reticle, which is typically found in military tactical scopes. But this isn't a military scope, it's a scope made for the sportsman. That alone is normally impressive enough to pique interest, but the makers had to go ahead and put it all in a rugged, durable housing, so it will hold up well for a long time.Read more
Built for Slugs
Finding a high quality shotgun scope is already enough of a challenge, seeing as how it’s not an overly saturated market. Now, throw in the need for a slug specific scope, and you’ve got yourself a whole new project. Enter Konus to the rescue. They saw a need, and decided to help fill it with a well made product that works best when a slug is the only way to go.
Great Value, Low Price
I’m so clever. I’m just lucky they made it so easy by providing a feature-rich, high functioning shotgun scope for such an affordable price. Military grade specs at a civilian cost? Yes, please.
Cost and Value
Just read the introduction for this scope, and you'll see that it would be a great buy at almost any price point, as people are willing to pay a bit more for quality. Guess what? This scope is actually cheaper than a lot of others out there.
5. Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm Compact
Very good build quality
Precision finger click adjustments
Water and fog proof
Magnification ring very tight
Elevation knobs are wonky
This baby will last for a very long time. It was built for quality, of course, but with a strong focus on durability in the field and on the range, as well. It makes sense, because how much sense does it make to have a top of the line scope with great optics that falls apart after only a few uses. That's easy: none.Read more
Is clarity important? Without being able to see your target, it won’t matter how accurate you are, so yeah, I’d say so. How do you get good clarity? By starting with fully coated optics for maximum brightness and light transmission. Wrap a sturdy well-constructed housing around it, and you’ve got yourself the Leupold 113867 VX-1 Shotgun Scope.
Speaking of a sturdy well-built housing, let’s go there for a second. It’s rugged and totally waterproof so you can go ahead and get messy. It’s clear they built this scope intending for it to be used in any climate or condition, and it does without issue.
Cost and Value
Another high-end shotgun scope, the Leupold 113867 VX-1 boasts high-end features and build quality. At the end of the day, it's expensive but well worth it, you know what you're looking for.
6. Simmons 517793 Prodiamond
Stays locked to zero
Built to last
Quick target acquisition eyepiece
Recoil proof construction
Not very accurate
Unusual reticle takes time to get used to
There's a diamond in the name, that should say something, right? Well, it does imply things such as strength, durability, and class. Fortunately, the Simmons 517793 Prodiamond Shotgun scope fits the bill nicely. The Class, in this case, is shown in how this scope holds up in any situation, doing exactly what you ask of it, and then moves on, ready for the next challenge.Read more
Good Look, Well Built
With its clean lines, sleek curves, and all around smooth aesthetic, you wouldn`t be blamed for thinking this scope couldn`t stand up to any situation outside of a firing range.
But while you wouldn`t be blamed for it, you`d still be wrong. All the upgrades made in the housing construction help fortify this beast to excel in the field. Heck, it comes with Nikon`s no-fault policy means they don`t think you`ll ever have a problem.
Cost and value
To get your hands on a well-made piece of equipment at a reasonable price is usually pretty tricky to pull off. The fact that Simmon's made one so easy to find is a welcome surprise
7. Nikon SlugHunter BDC 200
Accurate at long range
Plenty of eye relief to prevent injury
Bright optical system
Wide field of view
Tough to zero
Doesn’t adjust well
Nikon? They make cameras, don't they? Absolutely, and they're pretty darn good at it, too. So good, in fact, that they took all their years of experience and success and put it into a very well made new shotgun scope. Everything you could want in a high-end scope is included here, packed with enough technological advances to put it into its own class.Read more
Eyes Wide Open
This scope boasts an incredibly wide field of view, allowing you to instantly take in everything that's going on around you, without having to interrupt your concentration.
Made for Accuracy
On top of the quality fully coated optics, which this scope has in spades, the scope also boasts a good amount of brightness, allowing you to make out any potential obstacles or hazards that normally wouldn`t be as easily noticeable, resulting in better accuracy down the line.
Cost and Value
Nikon built this scope to be the last one you need to buy, so it's meant to do everything you need while holding up to everything you do. True to form, it worked. You will pay for it, but you'll feel good doing so.
8. Ozark Armament Rhino Red/Green Dot Sight
Mounts quickly and securely
Meant to be abused
Solid all metal construction
Poor lense caps
Reflections on lense disorienting
Ever since I watched the Terminator as a kid, I thought laser sights were so cool. You know what? I still do. It just feels superior, and as you ease that laser dot onto your target, you'll feel that way too. Also, just like its namesake, it's designed and built to take whatever abuse you, or the elements you expose it to, without skipping a beat.Read more
Can Take a Beating
I don't mean myself, I’m talking about this scope. The Rhino Tactical Green & Red Dot Sight was meant to be used and abused in the toughest environments, and The all-metal build helps ensure that you can do just that.
All Metal Construction
Not only is that a visually appealing feature, but I'm also talking about the build quality of this shotgun scope. This feature is just playing off of its durability, but it is such a core part of this product that it bears repeating. This is a strong scope.
Cost and Value
For how cool it makes you feel, the Rhino Tactical Green & Red Dot Sight is extremely well priced. Oh yeah, it's durable and well made too, or some junk.
9. Nikon ProStaff BDC 200
Great lifetime no questions warranty
The shorter one-piece tube stays out of the way
Good light transmission
Lenses can crack
Hard to zero
Meet Nikon. You’d better get used to them, because you’ll be seeing their name more often, both on this list, and anytime a good shotgun scope is talked about. Yes, they are more well known for other things, but given the quality of their scopes that I took a look at, all that is going to change soon.Read more
You can See Everything
The Nikon ProStaff Shotgun scope(BDC 200) boasts a quick focus eyepiece, fully coated optics for top-notch clarity and light transmission, and it has zero reset turrets to make field adjustments simple and easy. All features I’d want in a scope.
When I first picked up a rifle stronger than a 22. Caliber, I was scared. Granted, I was a kid still, but I saw how much shotguns can recoil. What if I took the scope in the teeth? Who wants that? Good thing then that this baby offers plenty of eye relief.
Cost and Value
Priced a little above the other scopes here, the Nikon ProStaff Shotgun scope(BDC 200) is well known Nikon quality, with the nominal price increase due to their dedicated attention to detail. I’d hazard to say that puts it at a great value.
10. Truglo Compact 4x32 Strut N Rut
Durable aluminum housing
Great price point
Ideal for a medium range
Well built saddle
Eye reliefs too close
The scope is quite short
A high quality scope by Truglo, made with aluminum body construction, priced really well, with beautiful clarity? Yes please. while this is advertised as a crossbow scope it does exceedingly well as a shotgun scope as well which is why we're including it here. I'm not an avid shotgun user, but if I ever take it up, I know enough to make this the shotgun scope I start with. An entry level product that performs well at any level.Read more
It should be a given that scope is well made, and because of this, the TRUGLO Compact 4x32 Strut N Rut Scope goes hand-in-hand with anything that has to do with rifles. Actually, quality rifles to be more specific.
While the TRUGLO Compact 4x32 Strut N Rut Scope w/Rings is a great shotgun scope at virtually any range, it really shines when it comes to a moderate range from 100-200 yards. If your target is in there, it’s as good gone.
Cost and Value
The TRUGLO Compact 4x32 Strut N Rut Scope w/Rings brings a great price together with trusted quality, making this an excellent choice for beginning sportsman and enthusiasts alike.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When you are looking at a scope for your shotgun, you will want to look at the overall design of the gun scope in terms of its size, weight, color, and its finish. These factors will affect how well you are able to use the scope with your shotgun and will help you make a determination as to which scope is proper for your needs.
One of the first things you will want to look at when you are considering the design of a gun scope is the size of the gun scope. You are going to need to make sure that the gun scope has a proper size for your gun since you do not want a scope that is too small or too large for your shotgun.
Since weight is related to the size of the scope, you will need to make sure that the scope is light enough to allow you to use the gun. If the scope is too heavy, then you may have trouble holding the gun steady while you are aiming the gun. You may even have to rest the gun on a tree branch or something similar in order to hold the gun steady enough for an accurate shot. In an ideal world, it would be great to be able to purchase the lightest gun scope possible, however, lightweight may also mean that the scope is not as durable as it may need to be.
When you are looking at the color of the scope, you will need to think about where you are planning on using the gun. For example, if you are planning on hunting in the woods, then you may want to consider purchasing a shotguns scope that is camouflaged so that you and your gun blend into the surrounding background.
While you are looking at the color of the scope, you will want to consider its finish as well. You should try and avoid gun scopes that have glossy finishes since such a finish is more likely to create a glare that can be noticed by animals. You are much better off trying to find a gun scope that has a dull finish since a dull finish is less likely to draw attention to your gun than a bright and shiny finish.
There are plenty of reasons why you will want to pick out a gun scope that is clear and easy to see through. The whole point of owning the scope in the first place is to make sure that you can properly aim for your target. If the scope isn't clear, then you will have trouble aiming and are more likely to miss your target. This can even turn into a safety issue if you fail to notice something in the background of your target due to the scope not being clear. Since nobody wants to experience an accident with their gun, you will need to make sure that the scope is clear and easy to look through.
There are a few reasons why a scope may not be clear in the first place. One of the reasons may have to do with low-quality lenses used to make the scope. For example, if the lenses are not cut at the proper curvature of the material used to make the lens, then your target may appear blurry or may not come into focus.
Moisture can also impact the clarity of the scope as well. For example, if your scope is no longer able to keep water or fog out of the body of the scope and away from the lenses, then you will have trouble seeing through the scope. Another issue that comes from moisture is fog on the lens, which prevents light from passing through the scope and makes it hard for you to see. You will have to make absolutely sure that your scope is fully protected from water to make sure that this does not happen.
In the case of a magnifying scope, the body of the scope can also impact how well you are able to see as well. Magnifying scopes rely on collecting light and bringing it into focus so that you can see properly, but a scope that has a dented body will no longer reflect light properly to your eye. This can make it hard for you to bring your target into focus while you are using such a scope and you may not be able to aim as well through the scope.
There may be other causes of a loss of clarity in the scope, but they all lead to similar consequences that will make using the gun more difficult. One issue that you may experience while using a blurry scope is eye strain. This can lead to fatigue and even headaches since your eyes will need to work harder in order for you to see.
Most hunters have likely heard the term "scope eye", a condition where the recoil of the gun jammed the scope of the gun back into the hunters face causing injury. "Scope eye" is a serious concern that you will want to think about since it can potentially cause an extreme amount of damage to your eye which can lead to blindness.
One of the things that you need to think about when you are picking out a scope for your shotgun is how much distance there is between your eye and the scope itself. This is called eye relief and there needs to be a proper amount of eye relief so that you can use the scope. Too much eye relief can lead to you being unable to use the scope since you will not be able to see through it in the first place. Not enough eye relief can cause the scope to hit you in the face when the gun recoils which causes scope eye. Your goal should be to have enough eye relief that you can use the scope safely without having to worry about getting hit the by the shotgun scope.
Scope eye tends to be a problem with magnifying scopes such as the fixed scope or the variable scope. In order to use these scopes, your eye will need to be close enough to the scope in order for you to look through the scope itself. Therefore, you will need to consider what gauge shotgun you are using with the scope in order to make sure that you have enough eye relief to avoid injury.
Since shotgun scopes can get expensive, you will want to think about the overall durability of the scope when you are picking out a scope for your shotgun. Durability matters because shotguns can get worked hard while you are using them. A well-made scope is designed to handle the recoil that is created by firing the gun, but it can also handle any stress to the gun that can come from when the gun gets carried or stored.
There are several areas where it is essential for a shotgun scope to be durable. The lenses used in a scope can be vulnerable to shock and moisture damage. Any moving parts on the scope also need to be strong enough to handle normal usage as well as the impact on such parts. Your scope will need a fully waterproof scope body and it will need to be able to handle impacts to the body of the scope as well. The final area of importance is the area where the scope mounts to your shotgun. Any failure on your scope will immediately create a safety issue which means your scope will need to be repaired or replaced. This is why durability matters when you are picking out a shotgun scope.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When you are shopping for a scope for your shotgun, you will notice that there are a few different kinds of shotgun scopes that are available. The different scopes have different degrees of magnification, different prices, and they are constructed differently. Knowing about the different kinds of scopes will help you make a more informed decision about shotgun scopes which will help you pick the proper scope for your needs and budget.
Other Factors to Consider
Don't worry, we'll keep this conclusion, brief and to the point. If you're into shotguns, be it for hunting or sport shooting, you'll need a good scope. Hopefully, while it is still a bit of a niche market, the above list should have highlighted a good range of products for whatever your needs or desires may be (when it comes to shooting. Don't be weird). That doesn’t mean you need to heed this list. There are several options out there to pick from. Go ahead, take a look. If you do decide to go with one of the listed items, though, well, first of all, you're welcome. Secondly, and all that matters, is that they will all accomplish the task effortlessly, and you will not be disappointed.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What are some of the benefits of using a scope with a shotgun?
One of the main advantages of using a scope with your shotgun is that it becomes easier for you to compensate while you are aiming. Many people struggle with adjusting to a moving target or a target that is located at a different elevation from where you are standing. A scope for your shotgun can help you with these problems. A shotgun scope will also provide magnification of your target which can also help improve your aim.
q: Can I use a scope in dim light?
Shotgun scopes work by projecting as much light as possible into your eyes so that you can see your target. Generally speaking, the less light there is available to the scope, the worse the scope will perform, but there are plenty of shotgun scopes that are specifically designed to work in low light conditions. If you are planning on using your gun in the early morning or late evenings, then you will need to purchase a gun scope that works in low light conditions.
q: Why don't magnification scopes on shotguns work at long ranges?
You may notice that a rifle scope will magnify a target by 30x while a shotgun scope only has a maximum magnification of 4x. This is because a shotgun does not have the same firing range as a rifle and therefore, you will not be able to take advantage of a high magnification. There is no purpose to over magnify a target and doing so may even cause people to fire at a target that is out of range on accident.
q: When should I use magnification with my shotgun?
Magnification on a shotgun is typically used when you are firing slugs at the larger game. You can normally find a scope that will magnify as much as 4x and it should give you an effective range of about 150 yards. This will help you aim at vital organs of the animal easier and it will provide you with a much cleaner kill and less chance of the animal running away from you after you hit it.
q: When should I preferred dot or holographic scopes?
You will want to use a red dot or holographic scope when you are using buckshot, birdshot, or hunting small game. Buckshot and birdshot spread when it is fired from the gun so there is no purpose to using magnification when you are using this kind of ammunition. Small game is usually shot at short range and will require you to find your target quickly so once again, you would not want to use magnification for this purpose.