Rifle Scopes are hard to pick and choosing the best one can easily prove to be a difficult task for everyone, doesn’t matter if you are a professional hunter or one who enjoys shooting as a sport. There are a lot of decisions to make and it’s especially harder if you are trying to get one that fits your budget. A scope can either break or make your shot, that’s why picking the most suitable one that meets your needs and for your rifle is very important. If you’re hoping to find one that doesn’t cost more than $200 but also offers excellent performance then read on to find out our best picks for the best rifle scopes under $200.
# Things to Consider Before Buying Rifle Scope
Here are some tips that can be useful for you before deciding to buy a riflescope.
- Main tube and objective lens: generally speaking, the main tube of a rifle scope measures 1”, 30 or 34 mm in diameter. The bigger the diameter, the more the range of adjustment will increase. This is important in terms when it comes to long-distance targeting. Plus, they contribute to enhancing durability as well. However, note that the extra material in the construction will add more weight. On top of that, the rings (useful for mounting them) can be a bit steep. You obviously want the optic to be nitrogen or argon-purged to dislodge water vapor and prevent internal flogging. That’s why the riflescope should be both shockproof and waterproof. An optic’s light-gathering will boost if the objective lens size is increased. This will come in handy in low-light situations. However, huge objective lenses are difficult to carry as they are heavier and bulkier. In all honesty, a 40 or 44 mm objective lens is the ideal choice.
- Reticle and focal plane: choosing the optimal reticles depends on your location, quarry and of course, firearm. A standard ‘duplex’ is more than enough for most conditions, ranges, and hunting arms. In terms of position, when it’s located in the first focal plane, there won’t be any change in its scale in proportion to the image through the whole magnification range. This allows for accurate ranging, windage corrections, and holdovers at pretty much all magnification settings. Then, if it’s in the second focal plane then changes in magnification will either increase or decrease the image.
- Adjustments and Turrets: tactical-style turrets are so in right now for they hasten windage- and elevation- adjustments. They don’t usually exist in cheap scopes and if you go for tactical-style turrets, they must be really consistent. Then, check the turrets all the time in case they’ve been rotated accidentally because it might result in a miss or cripple.
- Magnification: proper magnification is subjective. An increase of 3x per 100 yds can be a good general rule of thumb for everybody. A magnification ranging from 2 to 4x is ideal for target shooting in a 150 yds distance. Long-range shooting is perfect with the highest powered scopes (12 to 25x magnification range). Note that, high-powered scopes can narrow the field of vision and give limited light. If you’re a regular shooter, you don’t need a scope ranging beyond 12x.
# Top 5 Best Rifle Scopes Under $200
1. Nikon P-223 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600
The first item on our best rifle scope under $200 list comes from the manufacturer that’s on the forefront of rifle scope industry. Nikon launches its P-223 model specifically designed for AR and for those looking for a more affordable alternative. This rifle scope comes in a 3-9X variable with a 40 mm objective lens configurations. It also comes with a Nikon BDC 600 reticle that features extra aiming points at 100 and 50-yard increments out of 600 yds. It’s optimized to correspond to the trajectory of a 55-grain bullet, a high ballistic coefficient (BC).
To top it off, this P-223 rifle scope is also equipped with target turrets, which is a ¼” click adjustments at 100 yds. Both the windage as well as elevation turrets can be pulled out so it allows for free-wheeling. Thus, resetting the turret to zero is a real doddle. Does it have more to offer? Absolutely! It also features multi-coated optics, a fast-focus eye-piece, waterproof and fog proof construction, generous eye relief along with a parallax-free setting at 100 yds. And don’t worry, it’s also optimized for use with the Nikon Spot-On ballistic program, just like the other modern rifle scopes by Nikon are.
2. Vortex Optics DiamondBack 4-12×40 BDC
Vortex Optics DiamondBack DBK-04-BDC is one of the best and affordable rifle scope under 200 bucks with high-quality optics. Measuring at 12.8” long with a 40 mm objective lens. Its magnification range is from 4-12x with 3.1” eye relief. That’s why it’s a bit surprising that the rifle is not large considering its magnification range. You will have 32.4 – 11.3 ft of field view through the scope at 100 yds. Moreover, you also receive some great optical features. The adjustments are very acute for each click of the turrets provides a ¼ MOA adjustments. This translates to ¼” at 100 yds which is incredibly precise!
The internals of the scope is entirely multi-coated which is a good thing for it results in optimum light transmission, especially when combined with the huge 44 mm objective. In other words, this light provides maximum light to go through. Thus, you can see everything through the scope. Then, there’s also the reticle located on the second focal plane which is an obvious pro. This means the scale remains the same when the magnification range changes. You’ll greatly benefit from this particular reticle positioning when using the bullet drop compensating reticle at a longer distance. To top it off, it’s very durable, waterproof, shockproof and fog proof.
3. Nikon Buckmaster II 4-12×40
This rifle scope is designed with BDC along with an extra sunshade which allows for enhanced accuracy and better vision all day long. This hunting device offers you a lot of convenient features. For starters, it has a nitrogen filled tube which offers fog proof and waterproof performance. This translates to high durability. Moreover, the additional sunshades are fully adaptable. The optical system is fully multi-coated as well so it can transmit up to 98% of collected light in the shooting area. Such a feature allows you to use the scope in all kinds of conditions. On top of that, this feature also ensures the low contrast and low light based on the conditions of hunting.
One of the huge advantage points from Nikon is its bullet drop compensation for it assists you in both short and long range shooting. You can easily adjust up to 300 yds with this! This version incorporates zero-reset turret which simplifies the field adjustments. But how is the rifle scope overall? It’s very compact with it’s 40 mm lens and 4-12x magnification range, a definite proof for a solid design.
4. Nikon 6729 Prostaff Black Matte 4-12×40
Nikon 6729 is another version by Nikon we would like to recommend because their combination of affordability and high-quality glass is tough to beat. If you are looking for an exceptional build quality and performance then you’ll fall in love with this model pretty quick. For starters, it comes with the Nikon’s professional photography grade lenses which are fully multi-coated so image clarity is greatly enhanced and glare minimized. This version is able to transmit up to 98% of gathered light to your eye. That’s exceptionally high light transmission for such an affordable rifle scope! This amazing feature is coupled with a one-inch body tube featured with 4 to 12x magnification and 40mm objective lens. Both contribute to delivering a high definition image even in dim lighting or low contrast environments like scrublands or sage plains.
It also comes with an etched BDC reticle with aiming points designed for various ranges. This allows for precision at pre-calculated distances with no adjustments whatsoever. That’s why it’s ideal for shooters who have minimal time between shots. Nikon Prostaff comes with a 4-12x magnification range for long-range viability and 3.7” eye relief, guaranteed to get less eye fatigue.
5. Burris Fullfield II Ballistic Plex 3-9×40
Burris Fullfield II Ballistic is the last item on this best rifle scopes under $200 list available at a budget-friendly price range. This version has everything a hunter could ever ask for in a rifle scope such as crystal-clear and well-defined image, excellent light transmission and is rugged enough to withstand years of recoil and Mother Nature abuse. Burris is well known for its remarkable optics. All the lenses of the Fullfield II are multi-coated and offer 95% light transmission. It comes with a one-piece main body tube for uncompromising durability and equiped 3-9x40mm. The body construction is built to take the abuse hunters generally encounter and still perform to its optimum capacity.
Then, there are the steel-on-steel clickers to ensure precise adjustments. It’s much more accurate and stronger than the more commonly used plastic. Burris also designed this version with double internal springs so you won’t have to experience non-consistent adjustments during sighting in or scope shifting under heavy recoil. Lastly, it’s nitrogen filled which makes it waterproof and fog proof.
Choose any item from the best rifle scopes under $200 above and you’re guaranteed to be well-served!