Riflescopes: $400 to $600

 

Updated in January, 2021

This is an interesting price range and one where there is a lot of activity.  Better Chinese manufacturers have become increasingly competent and they have surprisingly solid products in this category.  There are still a few Japanese and Euro offerings as well.

 

Low range variables:

There isn’t really anything with truly daybright reticle illumination here, since Steiner’s P4Xi got a price hike.  Similarly, I would be wary of any FFP LPVOs under $600.  For now.  SFP options are getting decent though and SwampFox Arrowhead 1-10×24 was a pleasant surprise.  There are also 1-8×24 and 1-6×24 version of this scope that are quite competent.

 

General Purpose Hunting:

Meopta MeoPro 3-9×40 and 3-9×50 scopes standout here.  Personally though, for $600, I would lean toward the same scope I recommend on the tactical side of things SWFA SS 3-9×42.  This scope has been around for a while, I have two of them, and it just plain works.

 

High Magnification:

For once, there are a couple of compelling options in this category.  SwampFox Kentucky Long 5-30×56 is a very respectable option.  For a touch less money the new and slightly smaller Element Helix 6-24×50 FFP has really impressed me.  I do not think I have ever seen a variable scope in this price range with such bulletproof tracking.  Honestly though, if you are looking at high magnification scopes you should try to stretch your finances and go a little higher in price or shop used.  In principle, Arken and a few others look promising, but I simply have not spent enough time with them.

 

Reflex/Red Dot/Holographic Sights:

You can get really nice stuff in the under $600 range.   Shield SIS and Vortex AMG UH-1  get the nod here.

 

General Purpose Tactical:

SWFA’s SS HD 3-9×42 FFP scope with Mil-Quad reticle has probably been my most recommended scope since it came onto the market.  It does not look all that fancy on paper, but it is just about bulletproof, works well in difference lighting conditions and tracks like a champ.  This is the scope I recommend more often than any other in any price range. There is a reason for it and there is a reason this recommendation has not changed in years years.

If you are looking for more magnification, Element Helix 6-24×50 FFP is your huckleberry.
Prismatics (mostly for ARs):
Historically to get a nice prismatic you had to be north of $1k.  There have been some serious advances with lower prismatic scopes in the last couple of years, but most of them are under $400.  Interestingly, there isn’t a whole lot in the $400 to $600 range.  There are a couple I have not tested, but of the ones I have seen, Crimson Trace 3.5x Battlesight really stood out.

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 11:17 am

  5 Responses to “Riflescopes: $400 to $600”

  1. I would like your recommendation for a scope for my Grandson’s T/C Venture 7mm-08. He will be hunting deer and hogs in low light conditions. Price range <$600.

    • Since you are mentioning pigs, I assume that you might be takign a shot in very low light, since there is not time limitation on how late you can shoot one (correct me if I am wrong; I do not know the rules for all states). In the sub-$600 range I would look at 3-9×40 or 3-9×50 Leupold VX-R. Another good option is Meopta MeoPro 3.5-10x44RD (recently discontinued, but still around).

      ILya

      • Thank you Ilya. I had considered the SWFA SS 3-9x 42. I have found a website selling it for $449. My grand son hunts deer more than hogs, but most shots occur at daylight or dusk. Hog hunting in Florida may done anytime 24/7/ all year long.

  2. Thank you Ilya. I had considered the SWFA SS 3-9x 42. I have found a website selling it for $449. My grand son hunts deer more than hogs, but most shots occur at daylight or dusk. Hog hunting in Florida may done anytime 24/7/ all year long.

  3. I have been beating on them to offer version os this one & the 3-15×42 with shorter or capped turrets for more sporting/hunting friendliness?