Best Shotgun Scopes Reviewed & Rated for Quality
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 hunter's 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 by it.
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 these 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 these 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.
10 Best Shotgun Scopes
1. Nikon ProStaff Black Matte
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.
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
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.
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. Bushnell Trophy
Finding the right shotgun scope for you and your needs has more to do with what you want to achieve than the size of the scope you purchase. The Bushnell Trophy is one of the best options on the market when you are looking for quality, clarity and a sharp display. Furthermore, if you are looking for a scope that gets the job done look no further.
Fully Multi-coated optics
When it comes to finding one that will get the job done effortlessly, you want to seek one that comes with a multi-coating optics feature. Not only will this provide clearer images but it will further enhance your view. You can even call your view amazing, its one of the best optics on the market currently. Furthermore, the optics come with rain guard HD which offers 91% light transmission in any kind of weather.
As stated previously, this scope can be used in multiple weather conditions, which makes sense due to it being 100% waterproof. Furthermore, it's also fog proof and shockproof, giving you a more solid piece that makes your scope that much better. Additionally, there is a 1.75 4x magnification with circle x reticule and 3.5-inch eye relief that has been paired with elevation adjustments that will enhance your experience.
Cost and Value
When it comes to the cost and value of this product, it is a bit on the higher end of the spectrum. Though it is pricey you are getting quality above it all which is exactly what you want. Additionally, it comes with different finishes you can choose from, enabling you to choose the finish that will not only match your shotgun but will make you feel good about having this product.
4. Konus Black Powder
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.
Built for Slugs
Finding a high-quality option 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 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 Compact
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.
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 VX-1.
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 selection, the Leupold 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 Prodiamond
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 Prodiamond 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.
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. EOTECH 512
From a first glance, you will take note that this scope is completely different from any other one you might have seen. The EOTECH 512 is one of the most aesthetically different scopes on the market. Built not only to last but to work in a multitude of conditions, it's one of the best yet unique designs on the market. You can almost say its unique design was created to make the most out of any shotgun you already have.
Thanks to its holographic design, this scope might seem unpredictable but its constructed specifically for close situations and shooting needs. Instead of having a long scope that forces you to have to be away from your goals and at a distance, this one enables you to be up close and personal without having to be microscopically close. Furthermore, you will notice with this design that it's extremely versatile almost ingenious.
To further enhance its abilities, the scope comes with laser lighting integrated. Having this laser light ensures you not only get the most out of your scope but it enables it to work in multiple conditions including ultra-dark areas. The laser brings in an added dose of lighting that enhances the object you are trying to capture overall. You can focus on the object and simply begin shooting with confidence that you will get accurate results. The laser itself is extremely useful and versatile adding an edge to your scope.
Cost and Value
As for the cost and value of this item, it is actually one of the most expensive scopes that we have. However, we believe it is well worth the price. Furthermore, you can almost say the scope itself offers so many features you are getting an excellent product with even better detailing, that the price might not seem as steep.
8. Ozark Armament Rhino Red/Green Dot Sight
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.
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. 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
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 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.
You can See Everything
The Nikon ProStaff 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 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 Strut N Rut
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 for shotguns 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 my first choice. An entry-level product that performs well at any level.
It should be a given that scope is well made, and because of this, the TRUGLO Compact goes hand-in-hand with anything that has to do with rifles. Actually, quality rifles to be more specific.
While the TRUGLO Compact 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
This brings a great price together with trusted quality, making this an excellent choice for beginning sportsmen and enthusiasts alike.