Best Long Range Rifle Scope under $300 – 2021 Guide

Hit your mark with the best long range rifle scope under $300. A scope is a significant investment, so you’ll want to find the right product for your budget. With so many scopes on the market, it can seem impossible to differentiate them; that’s why we produced this rifle scope review. Here’s everything you need to know!

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Best overall
  • Illuminated reticle (red & green)
  • Emerald-coated lens
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  • Best value for the money
  • More affordable than most scopes
  • Simple, easy-to-use design
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  • Best long range hunting rifle scope
  • Shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof
  • Argon-purged
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  • Best Leupold long range rifle scope
  • Twilight Light Management System
  • Performs in -40℉ to 160℉ conditions
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  • High magnification
  • Illuminated reticle (red)
  • Exceptional clarity
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What Are the Components of a Long Range Rifle Scope under $300?

Comparing the various components of long range rifle scopes can help consumers differentiate between units within their price range. Let’s take a look at the basic components of a scope.

Objective 

The objective lens gathers light to produce a magnified image of the target. As the size of objective lenses increases, the image shown to the viewer appears brighter.

Objective Bell

The objective bell contains the objective lens. Many objective bells allow for the attachment of a sunshade.

Scope Tube

The scope tube is the central body of the unit by which the size of the scope is measured. The rings of your mount encircle this part of the scope. 

Ocular Lens

The ocular lens produces the final image viewed by the user, so it’s a crucial part of the scope. 

Eye Bell

The eye bell contains the ocular lens and reticle.

Elevation Turret

The elevation turret adjusts the aim vertically to account for bullet drop.

Windage Turret

The windage turret adjusts the aim horizontally to account for wind.

Power Ring

The power ring, also known as the zoom ring or magnification ring, adjusts the zoom.

Ocular Focus

The ocular focus, also known as the eyepiece focus, adjusts the sharpness of the reticle.

Why Did These Long Range Rifle Scopes under $300 Make Our List?

The scopes we selected made the list because they possess features typically found on top-end units. The discovery of premium options on a scope under $300 presents an excellent buying opportunity, and here are what some of those extra features are: 

Illuminated Reticle

An illuminated reticle creates a contrast between the reticle and the target. It proves useful in low-light conditions or when a dark target sits in front of a shaded background. 

Light Management System

A light management system reduces glare in sunny conditions and increases brightness and contrast in the twilight. An excellent light management system will provide an additional 10 to 15 minutes of light as the sun sets.

Argon-purged

Most brands that offer fogproof scopes use nitrogen to purge the oxygen between lenses. But, some use argon, which costs more and proves less likely to leak due to its larger mass. It also offers a lowered risk of corrosion.

Sunshade

Most scope manufacturers don’t include sunshades with the main unit. While sunshades may not cost very much, at least one of our reviewed products comes with this handy accessory.

Review of the Best Long Range Rifle Scopes under $300

We’ve scoured the internet in search of affordable, high-performance rifle scopes. All of the scopes selected meet or exceed our stringent standards. Without further ado, here are the best long range rifle scopes under $300:

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CONS

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers of the Leapers UTG BugBuster report satisfaction with the number of premium features packed into this budget rifle scope. Most purchasers emphasize the overall value of the scope. A few customers who used this product noted that the lens cap does not fit the two-inch sunshade.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The UTG BugBuster stands out to us because Leapers packed it full of features you might see on a top-of-the-line rifle scope. Some scopes don’t even have an illuminated reticle, much less one that switches between red and green. Plus, out of all the units reviewed here, only BugBuster comes with a detachable sunshade.

The finger-adjustable, zero-lockable, and zero-resettable target turrets offer click adjustments of ¼ minute of angle (MOA). And, the premium flip-open lens cap seems built to last. The emerald-coated lens looks terrific and offers enhanced clarity of the target image. That’s why the Leapers UTG BugBuster represents our top pick.

Bottom Line

The BugBuster offers more advanced features than other scopes on our list while keeping the price within our target range. If you can’t spend a couple grand on a rifle scope, then this model will give you a taste of the options that top-end scopes offer.

PROS

CONS

What Recent Buyers Report

Those who purchased the Tasco Varmint rave about its simplicity and ease of use. With few bells and whistles, the scope proves less likely to suffer a malfunction in the field. This unit serves hunters and target shooters as a basic yet high-quality rifle scope that works best in high-visibility situations.

Why It Stands Out to Us

For us, the Varmint stands as a reliable, durable, and accurate scope that we see as the best budget option. The Varmint’s one premium feature, parallax adjustment, ensures accuracy at short ranges. And, the true Mil-Dot reticle offers shooters additional confidence when targeting from long range.

Although we would have liked to see a few exciting, modern features, the trade-off provides peace of mind because users won’t need to worry about packing replacement batteries for their hunting trips. Finally, the Tasco Varmint Rifle Scope holds zero as well as any model that made our list of reviews.

Bottom Line

While the Tasco scope may not be the best long range rifle scope, its sturdy construction, image clarity, and affordability put it in the conversation. If you place reliability above modern conveniences, the Varmint might serve your hunting and target shooting needs for years to come.

Best Long Range Hunting Rifle Scope

Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 Matte Rifle Scope

PROS

CONS

What Recent Buyers Report

Most owners of the Vortex Diamondback love how easy it is to mount and adjust. The aircraft-grade aluminum and anodized finish give the unit some added durability for heavy use. Some consumers report intense glare at dawn and dusk. Others mention the short eye relief that can force users to mount their scope in a suboptimal manner depending on the rifle.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Vortex Diamondback made an impression on us because it has several features not found on some of the other best long range rifle scopes under $300. This model gets purged with argon rather than nitrogen, which means that the waterproof and fogproof aspects should take longer to fail than other scopes in the marketplace.

Like some of the other scopes we review here, the Diamondback undergoes strenuous shockproof testing; so, you can still depend on it if you bang it around a little bit. As an added benefit, the unit includes lens covers, saving purchasers a few extra dollars they would otherwise have to spend to protect their scope.

Bottom Line

Consumers who hunt frequently would do well to buy this Vortex model. No recent buyers complained about durability, and the argon-purging means the interior of the scope will corrode more slowly than other units. It gets our vote for best long range rifle scope under $300.

 

PROS

CONS

What Recent Buyers Report

Purchasers of the VX-Freedom scope extol its Twilight Light Management System. The ability to gain several extra minutes of shooting light before dawn and after dusk gives users a reason to brag to their fellow hunters. And, those who mount it on the .450 Bushmaster have nothing but good things to say about it.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Like recent buyers, we felt impressed by the light management system. It might make it the best Leupold long range rifle scope. But, this model also has several other useful features. All VX-Freedom scopes undergo testing for extreme climate conditions from well below freezing to temperatures higher than anywhere on Earth.

We also like the black matte finish, which reduces solar reflection that would give away a hunter’s position. Owners of .450 Bushmaster rifles will love how Leupold calibrates this scope specifically for them. And, the fact that Leupold designed, manufactured, and assembled the VX-Freedom in the good ol’ U.S. of A. doesn’t hurt, either.

Bottom Line

We see this scope as a must-buy for hunters who use the .450 Bushmasters. But, the VX-Freedom works well with many other rifles as well. In truth, we think buying this scope is worth it just to try out the light management system. However, that shouldn’t distract the overall quality that consumers have come to expect from Leupold.

PROS

CONS

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers love the clarity of the Primary Arms FFP Rifle Scope. Most found it easy to use and experienced tight grouping of the first few shots fired. Many purchasers did mention how heavy the unit feels. The extra glass that gives this scope its clarity does add to its weight.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Other than the Tasco model we reviewed previously, this Primary Arms scope offers the highest magnification of the units reviewed here. And, it maintains image quality even at the highest magnification. The illuminated front focal plane ACSS HUD/DMR reticle presents an ideal targeting system for headshots.

Bottom Line

We love the easy-to-use zero adjustment because it does not require a tool. Since we love freebies, the included lens cap adds a little extra value too. In the end, the presence of an illuminated reticle on a scope under $300 proves hard to ignore.

Safety Considerations for Rifle Scopes under $300

Rifle scopes present a safety concern for novice shooters due to the phenomenon known as ‘scope burn’ or ‘scope eye.’ If a user displays poor form, keeps his or her eye too close to the scope, or experiences excessive recoil, it could result in injury. Take heed of the following safety considerations when using a rifle scope:

Recoil

Since recoil presents the most danger to a shooter when using a scope, let’s take a look at some of the ways to reduce this risk:

  • Low Bore Axis: The higher the bore access relative to the stock, the more perceived recoil a shooter will feel. Choose a rifle with a low bore axis to reduce recoil.
  • Stock Selection: Various types of stock material will impact the absorption of recoil.
  • Fit: The proper fit of the stock to the shooter will lessen perceived recoil.
  • Installation: A scope installed specifically for the shooter will decrease the chance of experiencing scope burn.
  • Ammunition: The type of ammo impacts the amount of recoil. Less powerful ammunition represents the safer choice for novices.

Additional Tips Regarding Recoil

Experienced shooters know several tricks to help minimize recoil and scope burn. Remember these tips to stay safe while using a scope:

  • Don’t fight the recoil. Absorb it.
  • Use a rifle with a cushioned butt.
  • Wear a sling to decrease muzzle climb, which leads to scope burn.
  • Abstain from using a benchrest. It makes it harder to absorb recoil.
  • Purchase ammunition with reduced recoil.
  • Use a heavy rifle. Heavier rifles have less recoil.

Conclusion

Individuals who have made it to this point in the review should have a good sense of the best budget rifle scopes out there, the advanced features some of them possess, and safety precautions to take when using a scoped rifle. We hope you enjoyed reading our review as much as we enjoyed writing it and have decided which scope suits you best.

People Also Ask

No matter how much material we cover when writing reviews for the best long range rifle scopes, our readers always have additional questions. Have a look at the following inquiries that we receive on a regular basis:

What Scope Do Snipers Use?

We get this question all the time. The answer: It depends. The Marine Corps snipers use the Nightforce Advanced Tactical Rifle Scope. Army snipers use the Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56. And, Navy Seals use a variety of scopes, some of which civilians can’t buy.

What Magnification Do I Need for 600 Yards?

When taking a shot from 600 yards out, 4-14, 3-15, and 3-12 magnifications should work well. Novice shooters might have difficulty hitting their mark with a 3-10 magnification, but expert marksman should have little trouble with it.

Joseph Fox

Joseph Fox

Joseph Fox writes on a variety of topics ranging from reloading ammunition to gun cleaning. He has been featured on various publications like thetruthaboutguns, Sofrep & many more. Joseph is also the founder of Gunloading, where he reviews different types of reloading & firearm products available on the market.