Updated in April, 2020
Inflation keeps on moving prices upward little but little, you can still get some surprisingly serviceable scopes in the $200 range. I know I sound repetitive, but if you are on a budget it is best to resist the temptation to get the most feature rich scope in the known world. Looks for something with solid fundamentals and strongly consider a used scope or a closeout from a reputable maker that stands behind their product. Visit SWFA’s Samplelist often.
My sorta standard recommendation for general purpose hunting scopes in this price range is Vortex Diamondback. They have 1.75-5×32, 2-7×35, 3-9×40 and 4-12×40 all under $200. I have had really good luck with the first three.
Burris Fullfield II and Droptine is another recommendation I have been making for a while, but this year the new Fullfield IV is out that I have not tested yet. I do not know how long the older Fullfields will be available, but they are solid and reliable scope with good fundamentals. If you are looking to scope a 22LR plinker, Burris Droptine 2-7×35 is a really decent option.
I have a strong suspicion that Diamondback and Fullfield II are made at the same factory in the Phillipines and I would not be surprised if Sig Whiskey3 was from there as well. If you want a larger objective, Whiskey3 3-9×50 might be the only game in town under $200. Same if you want illumination.
With red dot sights, $200 opens up the options a little since now you have 400-series Holosuns and a few others available. Honestly, given the advancements in battery life, I would just as well stick with a less expensive Vortex Crossfire and be done with it, but Holosuns are very nice and some solar powered ones are within a $200 budget. Also, some Holosuns have a gold color reticle that plays a little better with astigmatism.
With magnifiers, no you can step up to Samson 3.5x that comes with a very solid RAM mount. It is pretty beefy, but a really good deal for the money. Another magnifier that performs better than I expected is the Bushnell 3x, although I do not like the mount too much. Bushnell’s strength here is the longer eye relief. For some situations, it is really helpful. I have both and they are working well.
Unless you find a sale, there still aren’t any LPVOs or prismatic scopes that are worth it in this price range.