What is the Best Rifle Scope for Deer Hunting?

  • By: Michaela King

Getting out into the woods and bagging yourself a buck certainly requires a huge amount of preparation, and everything you have in your arsenal can make a difference. If you’re looking to up your game this year then you might be wondering: what is the best rifle scope for deer hunting?

In this article, we’re going to outline what you need to be looking for in a scope and how to decide what’s going to work for you, and we’re going to let you know what we consider to be the top 5 options that you can pick up on Amazon today.

What To Look For In A Deer Hunting Scope

Selecting the right rifle scope can be incredibly confusing, particularly with so many different types and options out there these days. Before we give you our top picks, we first need to talk about what elements are most important for deer hunting and what to look out for when you’re shopping.

Magnification and Zoom Range

The first thing you’ll probably be thinking about is how much magnification you’ll be getting, which is obviously going to be key. Some scopes offer fixed magnification, which is pretty limiting, so it’s usually best to go with a variable option.

In open space at medium-long distances, then something like a 3-10, a 4-12, or a 6-20 is usually ideal, but you might need to be able to go down to 1 or 2 for dense woodland.

You also need to take into account the zoom ratio, which tells you the range of magnification that you’re getting.

Reticle Type

When you’re looking down the scope, the kind of reticle you have is more than just a cosmetic choice. The main options to choose between are:

  • Duplex. The default. It’s simple and quick.
  • Mil-Dot. Estimates distance to the target.
  • BDC. Estimates other factors like bullet drop and holdover. Great for long-range shooting.

Most beginners will prefer a Duplex, but a BDC is usually best for deer hunting, once you’ve got the hang of it.


Every scope will come with “turrets” that you use to make adjustments: one to adjust the aim in a vertical direction, one for a horizontal direction, and one for reducing parallax (how objects can appear to be in different places based on where your eye is placed).

For any purpose, you want to have reliable turrets that can be adjusted quickly and consistently. You also want to be able to clearly tell exactly how they are set up and how they change.


Obviously, how much you are willing to spend will also be a major factor. At the end of the day, forking over $2000 is not going to make you a better hunter, but the budget options can be difficult to work with.

It’s almost always worth paying a little extra for features like waterproof and fog-proof lenses, lighter construction, higher clarity, and a reticle style that suits you.

Read Also: Top 3 Vortex Spotting Scopes for Hunting

Top 5 Deer Hunting Scopes

So, what is the best rifle scope for deer hunting right now? While that is a pretty personal and objective question, there are definitely a few stand-out options on the market that we highly recommend for those who aren’t looking to spend extortionate amounts of money.

1.    Vortex Viper 6.5-20×44

The Vortex Viper series is famously a reliable choice, and this particular scope is perhaps the best you can get in its price range. It comes with capped reset turrets that help you to make adjustments in a flash and a fast-focus eyepiece for simple, speedy reticle focusing. For this money, you won’t find better glass quality or a more solid build on the market.

If you want to be hunting at varying distances, the Dead-Hold BDC reticle is fantastic, and their fully multi-coated, extra-low dispersion lenses are really impressive.

2.    Leupold VX-3HD 3.5-10×40

Leupold is one of the most trusted names in the world of optics, and this VX-3HD is a great mid-range scope for almost any deer hunter. The Duplex reticle is incredibly easy to use, and it has a 3:1 zoom ratio that’s perfect for most purposes.

For a lot more money, you could go up to a 5HD or 6HD but, for deer hunting, it’s unlikely you’ll need more than the 3HD has to offer. It also has HD glass with excellent light transmission and glare reduction, and it’s 100% shockproof, waterproof, and fog-proof.

3.    Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm

This scope is great value, and it’s well-known as one of the most popular in the game. You get a high-contrast, sharp image with a reasonable magnification range for an unbelievably low price compared to its competitors.

It might not have the highest clarity, but it comes with a TrueZero adjustment system that’s great for staying locked at 0 under any conditions. It’s durable, waterproof, and fog-proof, and it features a Quick Target Acquisition (QTA) eyepiece.

4.    Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm

Bushnell is probably a name that you recognize, and for good reason. They’ve been making high-quality rifle scopes for years, and this Banner option is an excellent mid-range choice.

It has 6 inches of eye relief and a large objective, which makes it really comfortable to use, and you can opt for Dusk ; Dawn Brightness (DDB) multi-coated lenses that are perfect for challenging light conditions.

5.    ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Hunting Scope

While the other options we’ve looked at have been pretty classic, traditional scopes, this thing is more of a wildcard – but it is very impressive. It has a wide array of smart features like recoil-activated video to record the action, a smart reticle, and a built-in ballistics calculator that allows you to set up profiles for everything from range to humidity.

It’s able to record in 1080p, it’s powered by a Dual Core processor, and it has more than 18 hours of battery life.

Summary: What is the Best Rifle Scope for Deer Hunting?

So, what is the best rifle scope for deer hunting? Well, ultimately, that’s kind of up to you. A magnification range of around 3-10 is usually ideal for the average hunter, and you definitely want to choose a lens that has high clarity, good light transmission, and is both waterproof and fog-proof.

For our money, the Vortex Viper 6.5-20×44 is probably the best scope that you can buy in its price range right now. Its lens quality is outstanding, it gives a lot of range, and it’s definitely built to last.

Last update on 2024-04-18 at 02:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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