Riflescopes are like dates: good ones don’t come cheap. Shaping, polishing, and coating clear, distortion-free lenses takes time and precise equipment. So does machining the gears, springs, tubes, and lens mounts that comprise the guts of a scope. Assembling the package in a slim, three-dimensional tube that is waterproof and shock-resistant takes patience, and expertise.
This fine little riflescope combines a classic 3-9x deer-scope configuration with cutting-edge design and manufacturing. For the price, the optical clarity, light transmission, and ergonomics of this scope are second to none. Burris’s Forever Warranty protects you against damage inflicted by wayward horses and the elements. Turret adjustments are steel on steel—no plastic parts to cave under extreme use. Naturally, it’s waterproof and nitrogen purged against internal fogging.
|Matte Black or Nickel||13 oz.||12.2 in.||1/4 MOA||33 to 13 ft. at 100 yds.|
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 4.5-14x44mm Mil Dot | $261
While it’s available in various magnification ranges, the 4.5-14x 44mm version of this exceptional optic offers tremendous versatility. I used one on an Oregon mule deer hunt, to take a mature buck and two coyotes. Ultra HD glass ensures outstanding light transmission and startlingly clear images, and RainGuard HD coating sheds rain, enabling you to see and shoot even when soaked. Available with a standard duplex or Mil Dot reticle, the Legend Ultra HD is waterproof, shock resistant, and purged against fogging.
|Matte Black||18.7 oz.||4.7 in.||.25 in. at 100 yds.||6 to 23 ft. at 100 yds.|
The Scout rifle concept—a short, handy semi-lightweight rifle with a forward-mounted low-magnification optic—is currently enjoying a resurgence, and few scopes are more perfectly suited for it than Leupold’s VX-II Scout IER. Constructed in a one-piece tube with a minimal number of moving parts, this scope is stout. It’s got just enough magnification for precise shots to 250 yards and it adds minimal bulk to your favorite walking rifle. Plus, the lenses are clear as mountain air. Waterproof, shock-resistant, and fog-proof? Check, check, check. Finish available in matte black, silver, or gun metal gray, but only matte black comes in under $300.
|Matte Black||7.5 oz.||10.10 in.||N/A||22 ft. at 100 yds.|
Yes, Leupold’s VX-I is less expensive—as low as $175—and is a decent scope. But for the money, this one is a great scope. If I had to choose just one optic from this list with which to deer hunt my days away, this would be it. Elegant, classic styling coupled with many decades of American engineering and manufacturing perfection makes for a clear, bright, distortion-free riflescope that you’ll hand down to your grandkids. Several reticles are available, ranging from standard duplex (the $235 version listed on Amazon) to the uber-useful Wind-Plex. Finger-adjustable, tactile turrets make for easy, precise sight-in and field adjustments, and you can order a CDS dial matched to your ballistics….