Air rifle scopes provide top-notch precision, resulting in much faster and highly accurate target shooting with your air rifle.
Plus, they’re a PERFECT match whenever you’re out hunting and shooting in your free time!
If you’re searching for an air rifle scope that could give you better performance, look no further because this article is for you!
- The 7 Best Air Rifle Scopes – Full Reviews
- What to Look for in the Best Air Rifle Scope
- What’s the Difference Between an Air Rifle Scope and a Regular Rifle Scope?
- Air Rifle Scope vs. Iron Sights
- Summary of Top Picks
- Final Words
The 7 Best Air Rifle Scopes – Full Reviews
We’ll be showing you our recommended picks that are hot and fresh on the market today.
We’ll also guide you through what to look for in buying your optic gear. That includes the magnification range, objective lens, mounting hardware, and more.
Without further ado, let’s start with our top 7 picks!
1. Hawke Airmax 30mm SF 8-32x50mm
- Magnification range of 8x to 32x
- 50mm objective lens diameter
- 16.6″ long, 30mm tube
- Eye relief at 4″
- Illuminated AMX reticle
- Lens coated with 16 layers for added performance and protection
- Adjustable turrets with locking mechanism
If Leupold is known for top-tier telescopes made for center and rimfire rifles and other firearms, then Hawke Sport Optics leads on with their specially made air rifle optics that can handle the strong power of an air gun.
Just like the hefty list of product lines from Hawke Sport Optics, the Airmax range is compatible to use with most air rifles.
What we’re talking about here, though, is the second focal plane (SF) version of the Airmax 30mm 8-32×50.
With a 30mm build tube and a larger objective lens at 50mm, you could get a really nice view even at low light, enhanced more with 16-layer multi-coated lenses!
It also comes with a red illuminated reticle and a glass-etched AMX design that helps to aim at multiple points while keeping it nice and clean.
For additional context, the AMX reticle is more complex to use than the usual MOA reticle. It may not even be recommended for newbie shooters, but using it could get you an advantage, especially in terms of shooting at long distances.
With a plus of adjustable lockable turrets, the Hawke Airmax is essentially our top pick for the best air rifle scopes intended for a high-powered air gun.
- Crystal clear images thanks to multi-layered lenses
- Perfect air rifle scope for beginners
- Purpose-built for air rifles
- Sight picture blurs out more at high magnification
- Premium but competitive price range
2. UTG 30mm Accushot 4-16x44mm
- 30mm tube with 44mm objective lens diameter
- Magnification range of 4x to 16x
- 17″ in length, weighs 15.2 lbs
- Mil-dot illuminated reticle with 36 colors to choose from
- Zero reset-able locking target turrets
- Side focus parallax adjustment
The UTG Accushot is a scope with variable magnification ranging from 4x at the lowest power up to 16x at the highest.
It’s also among the few best air rifle scopes recommended by air gun enthusiasts, and it’s all thanks to the top-notch features jam-packed into one!
With a wider objective lens and an illuminated reticle with multiple colors to choose from, you could get accurate shots with solid visual quality and image lighting, no matter what shooting situation you may be in.
Using the Accushot scope, you don’t need to worry about it breaking too soon because it is engineered to hold the strongest recoil power from stronger firearms than usual air rifles.
An added bonus is that you could get a lens cover and two mounting rings included along with this scope.
The UTG Accushot may be priced within the $100 range, but the reliability and usage will truly go a long way. We cannot recommend getting this air rifle scope enough if you’re interested in a high-quality scope that can do it all!
- Compact with more features at a reasonable price
- Can hold very powerful recoil
- Wider lens for better low light shooting
- Image clarity may not be as bright
- Brighter, yet distorted illuminated reticle clarity
3. BSA Optics Outlook 3-9x40mm
BEST BUDGET PICK
- Magnification range of 3x to 9x
- 40mm adjustable objective lens
- 12.30″ long, weighs 17.70 oz
- Eye relief at 3.7 to 4″, 1/4′ MOA adjustment
- Fully multi-coated lenses
- Mil-dot reticle
- Low-profile zero-reset turrets
BSA Optics’ Outlook air rifle scope is worth checking out for long-range shooting and varmint hunting sessions.
This scope lives up to the name, as it has multi-coated lenses that produce a crisp, high-definition image even at the highest magnification level — a great advantage ahead of other scopes in terms of taking on targets.
As a first focal plane air rifle scope, your aim stays consistent no matter if it’s zoomed in or out. And with a build made of shock-resistant, lightweight aluminum, don’t worry about breakage even after 800 rounds!
From the turrets to the adjustable objective, refining is smooth and doesn’t require much effort — this is already enough for the scope to hold zero even after many shots.
The Outlook comes with two-piece dovetail rings, rubber lens covers, and a limited one-year warranty.
With such solid features that can compete with other high-end brands, you’d be surprised to find out that it doesn’t cost much.
So, if you’re looking for a budget air rifle scope that offers long-lasting durability at a reasonably affordable price, the BSA Optics Outlook may be the one!
- Crisp and clear optic quality
- Fog-proof, waterproof, and durable even after many rounds of high recoil
- Versatile for a reasonably-priced air rifle scope
- Rare chance that it might not last after 15 rounds
- Hash lines on the turrets don't exactly line up
4. CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope 2.5-10x40e
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- Magnification range of 2.5x to 10x
- 40mm objective lens diameter
- 12.30″ long, weighs approximately 20.5 oz
- Eye relief at 3 to 4″
- Built-in laser range finder
- Reticle with options of black, red or green illumination
- Adjustable turrets
For hunters who want to take their shooting to the next level, the CVLife Hunting Rifle Scope is the solution.
It has a couple of functions and features that can compete with most air rifle scopes that are hot in the market right now.
The objective lens is multi-coated in green, allowing for a clearer visual quality even when zoomed in further to the power of 10x.
It also has a Kellner eyepiece with adjustments that help manage the image blurring as much as possible and other adjustable turrets for easier corrections.
It is equipped with essential functions that make for convenient shooting, and this scope features an additional laser that can go as far as 100 yards!
Yep, you heard it right. Laser. You could even get a bonus when it comes to aiming your targets!
We recommend checking out the CVLife Hunting Rifle if you’re interested in buying a reasonably-priced scope packed with high-end features for extra convenience!
- Adjustable illumination settings
- Clear image quality when magnified to the highest setting
- Shooting is made more convenient with the help of the laser
- Lack of magnification
- Difficult to hold zero
5. Hawke Vantage IR 4-12x50mm AO
- Magnification range of 4x to 12x
- 50mm adjustable objective lens
- Around 16″ long, 1″ mono tube
- Weighs at 1.3 lbs
- MOA illuminated reticle
- 11-layer multi-coated lenses
- Recoil-resistant design, nitrogen purging
Another solid product line from Hawke Sport Optics, the Vantage series offers basic but high-quality functions and features at a more budget-friendly cost compared to the last product on this list.
This variant of the Vantage, in particular, sports a variable magnification range between 4x and 12x, an adjustable objective lens sized at 50mm, and a durable nitrogen-purged body, all good enough for a decent scope made for strong air rifles in mind.
It also has a glass-etched MOA illuminated reticle inside the tube and smooth-to-the-touch turrets offering 1/4 MOA adjustment on the outside.
Unlike the Airmax, one of our top air rifle scope picks with more layers of lens coating and a more advanced AMX reticle, this scope may be a downgrade in comparison, but the performance while shooting with rifles is still on par.
And with a price range of just under $200, the Vantage IR 4-12×50 AO is arguably among the best air rifle scopes in terms of performance and value for your buck!
If you feel this size may not be for you, there are other scope sizes within the Vantage series for you to choose from, with different magnification ranges and objective lenses.
- Best air rifle scope in terms of durability
- Smooth parallax adjustment
- Guarantees accurate shots
- Minuscule mil dot
- Might not hold zero well
6. UTG 3-9x32mm AO 1″ BugBuster
- Magnification range of 3x to 9x
- 32mm adjustable objective lens
- Nitrogen-purged 1″ mono tube
- Eye relief at 3 to 4″
- Multi-coated emerald green lenses
- Illuminated 9-mil-dot reticle
- Includes hardware and tools for adjustment, plus lens accessories
UTG is known for their wide array of optics and tactical gear trusted by many shooters through the years, and their BugBuster scope line does not fail in delivering the promise.
The BugBuster comes in various scope sizes, but what we’re focusing on in this list is the 3-9×32 adjustable objective type with a nitrogen-purged 1-inch tube.
What’s particularly nice about this is that it offers the essential, high-quality features and functions you could get from a premium air rifle scope at just under $100!
Some of its highlights include multi-coated lenses with emerald green shades for vivid visuals (even at low light), battery-powered red and green IR options (still functional without batteries), and a nine-mil-dot reticle that guarantees multiple aim points without having to adjust the turrets.
The ability to both keep the shots from your air gun zeroed in and hold all the inner parts intact after many shots is a welcome bonus!
The inclusion of lens caps, sunshades, and fog-proof features helps keep the BugBuster protected from any change in surroundings.
If an affordable scope under $100 for air rifles with the essentials of a premium kind is your kind of calling, we recommend that you try out the UTG BugBuster!
- Easy, user-friendly turret and parallax adjustment
- Quality optics for an affordable scope
- Able to withstand strong air rifle recoil after 2+ years of use
- Limited eye relief distance may be a problem for some shooters
- Crosshairs may come out as off-center
7. ATN X-Sight 4K PRO 3-14x
- Magnification range of 3x to 14x
- Around 14″ long, weighs 2.2 lbs
- Eye relief at 3 to 3.5″
- 1080p HD photo/video recording quality
- Rechargeable scope with 4K ultra HD sensor
- One-shot zero, recoil-activated recording (RAV), and other state-of-the-art features
- Compatible with Bluetooth- and WiFi-enabled devices
The ATN X-Sight 4K PRO is one of the best digital scopes out there that delivers superb optics from day to night.
Packed with diverse reticle patterns and color options, shooting with air rifles is easier with this state-of-the-art scope, which has plenty of stellar highlights.
First is the ability to capture images in the darkest places at night with its Enhanced HD Night Vision mode, the quality of which is top-tier and worth the money spent.
Secondly, while it serves its purpose as an optic scope, the X-Sight works just like any rechargeable video camera would. It can record footage that can be saved for later viewing and streamed live for others to see.
And last but not the least, you could get your shots zeroed in almost no time, thanks to the scope’s built-in one-shot zero feature.
This product is WiFi and Bluetooth-ready, and you can manage all essential data and footage in the palm of your hand by connecting it to the ATN Obsidian app available for free on smartphones.
For a premium-quality digital scope compatible with air guns at under $1000, the X-Sight proves to be so convenient to use that even beginners may find this a breeze.
- Up to 18 hours of battery life, good for 6 years
- Fog-proof, dust-proof, and waterproof
- One of the most user-friendly night vision digital scopes
- Eye box may be too narrow for some shooters
- Clarity reduces further at high magnification beyond 10x
What to Look for in the Best Air Rifle Scope
So you’re ready to buy your air rifle scope. But how sure are you about being ready for that?
It could be a waste of time and money if you decide to buy it on a whim.
Therefore, it’s important to know the essential elements to consider before making a purchase.
Here are 5 important factors to look for in choosing a good-quality scope for your air rifle:
#1 Magnification Range
Air riflescopes vary in how much magnification is needed for a shooter, and they come in either fixed magnification or variable magnification ranges.
Fixed Magnification Scopes
Fixed magnification scopes are set at a single range. However, since it’s set that way, that means they cannot be further adjusted.
Despite this setback, fixed scopes have some advantages that make anyone’s shooting experience remarkably excellent:
- They’re easier to maintain, which means not having to worry too much about calibration adjustments.
- With fixed air rifle scopes, faster, precise target shots are highly guaranteed. They are more effective when put into use in close-range shootings such as rodent hunting and plinking.
Variable Magnification Scopes
Variable magnification scopes are different from fixed ones in that they have a wider magnification range that can be adjusted for any situation.
Variable scopes shine best in versatility, as they can be used for shooting from close range, all the way through long-range.
But as variable rifle scopes are great for shooting any time and anywhere, some problems can occur while getting used to them.
Unlike fixed air scopes, variable ones are clunkier to work with because they need to be refined every so often to get a precise shot placement. A few misalignments may result in missed shots.
Which Type of Scope Should You Get?
- If you want to get your target faster and directly, a fixed air rifle scope could be what you’re looking for!
- If you want an all-out hunting experience with a wide array of ranges to choose from, then go for a variable scope!
#2 Objective Lens
The objective lens is found at the front of the rifle scope, and its size is a good factor worth considering when looking for one.
To determine the size of the objective lens, pay attention to the number right after the “x”.
Take “3-9×32” as an example:
- The first numbers before “x” are classified as magnification power and can come in fixed and variable ranges. In this case, “3-9x” refers to the scope’s magnification range.
- The last number after “x” refers to the size of the objective lens itself, in millimeters. In this case, the lens size of the scope is 32mm wide.
While this catchphrase can apply to many things, it can also apply to the objective lens on your air rifle scope.
Now that we’re clear on finding the lens size and magnification range, let’s discuss how the SIZE can affect the overall scope quality:
- Smaller lenses as wide as 15mm allow for a precise and often more straightforward target. But the downside is that there’s not much coverage allowed, especially if the lens is lower in quality.
- Bigger lenses have a much bigger advantage over smaller counterparts. They allow more light to enter the scope, making for a clearer target range. Plus, they work amazingly in low-light settings like hunting at sunrise or sunset.
Comparisons aside, the size of objective lenses can affect how much they will weigh on top of the rifle and a hunter’s hands.
Smaller lenses usually have the upper hand with their weight being lighter than the bigger ones, which are, otherwise, heavier to carry around.
To an extent, the larger the lens, the harder the mounting hardware can hold onto, so consider buying lifters and other modifications for additional support.
#3 Mounting Hardware
The mounting hardware connects the rifle scope to the top base of the rifle.
There are few air rifle scopes with built-in mounting devices that could make attaching to the rifle much easier.
But, in common cases, most of them don’t have those, so it’s always necessary to buy mounting hardware along with the scope.
Scope mounts come in one-piece and two-piece hardware. They have an elliptical frame that fits around the scope and a base that is secured onto the rail seated at the top of the rifle.
Scope Mounts and Recoil Power
Now, you need to know that buying a scope mount isn’t something to take lightly, as the build or recoil power of the rifle can greatly affect its durability.
High-powered spring piston rifles with stronger recoil usually require a one-piece mount because they can handle a lot of force while still holding tightly onto the scope at the same time.
Two-piece mounts are much more appropriate for low-powered rifles, as they have lesser recoil power.
Scope Mounts and Objective Lens Size
The size of the objective lens matters when looking for the scope mounts.
Scopes with objective lenses as large as 50mm and above will need higher mounts, while medium mounts are more appropriate for lenses with mid-sized ranges such as 44mm.
Lower scope mounts are highly recommended for scopes with an objective lens size of 40mm or less.
Scope tube size is also important to consider while searching for mounts.
There is a wide array of round-framed scope mounts with sizes that range between 1-inch (the smallest), 30mm (medium), and 34mm (large).
The reticle is the aiming point helpful in shooting the desired target, and this crucial part of the rifle scope determines the shooting performance to a greater degree.
But when it comes to purchasing new optics for an air rifle, it is often overlooked.
There are various kinds of reticles, each of which is appropriate to use in specific shooting situations.
Choosing a type and variation suitable for your current setting and preference is vital in looking for the best air rifle scope. In return, this may affect how you find and get your target!
Glass-Etched and Wired
Wired reticles are usually placed within many cheap scopes, while glass-etched variants can be found in most scopes built with higher quality.
While the wired reticle placed within the scope is just as reliable for low-powered air guns, the constant high-powered vibrations from spring-piston rifles may significantly overwhelm its strength, causing it to break apart.
Because of this, the glass-etched reticle is more compatible with a high-powered hunting rifle.
When it comes to carefully calculated targeting, reticles with reference points work the best.
A mil-dot reticle or a BDC reticle has points or lines that help guide the shooter in accurately taking down a chosen target, even from far away.
The duplex, dot, or crosshair reticle best suits low-effort, close-range plinking sessions.
Illuminated and Non-Illuminated
Aside from the different types and builds we’ve already briefed, reticles also come in illuminated and non-illuminated types.
With an illuminated reticle built into the air rifle scope, the shooter gets an advantage in aiming targets even in very low light. It’s especially helpful for those who are just starting.
However, some disadvantages of it include sometimes having blurry targets and the unnecessary weight added to the scope.
While those types are seen in a couple of high-end air rifle scopes, the non-illuminated reticles are arguably the most common among optics of all shapes, sizes, and qualities.
#5 Focal Plane
Last but not least, another factor that can dictate the overall quality of the air rifle scope is the focal plane.
Most scopes for air rifles usually come in two kinds: First focal plane scope (FFP) and second focal plane scope (SFP).
First Focal Plane Scopes
In an FFP scope, the reticle is placed in front of the magnification range.
Even if both the reticle and image get smaller or bigger, the target will remain consistent.
This setting is perfect for long-range shooting situations. However, if the target is at a very close range, the whole image may sometimes be obscured when zoomed in.
FFP scopes are highly effective even with high-powered air rifles, and shooters get the upper hand in getting their target as smoothly as possible.
Second Focal Plane Scopes
Meanwhile, with the SFP scope, the reticle is placed behind the magnification instead of the front, staying consistent even if the image itself is zoomed in or out.
SFP scopes on rifles are the most commonly used in hunting.
There are a couple of advantages while using an SFP scope. It allows the shooter to get a fine, straight target at both close and long ranges.
But as there are benefits, there are also downsides, including having to adjust the magnification range every so often just to gain holdover. It’s even more of a problem when the target is zoomed in further.
What’s the Difference Between an Air Rifle Scope and a Regular Rifle Scope?
Many scopes may look identical and function well with either an air rifle or a regular rifle. However, not all riflescopes are created equal.
Not considering how much force or power a rifle scope can tolerate or how different the shooting experience can be with any gun may seriously affect its durability and performance.
No matter the scope, they will always have many strengths and weaknesses.
So it’s important to consider the differences and similarities between shooting with an air rifle scope and shooting with a normal rifle scope.
Air Rifle Scopes vs. Regular Rifle Scopes: The Differences
There are stark differences between a normal and air rifle scope, especially with how they tolerate recoil and adjust the parallax.
Recoil is a major factor that can greatly impact a rifle scope.
While normal rifles normally recoil backward, spring air rifles do it differently.
They start in a backward motion for a little bit, then move on quickly with a forward recoil, giving way for the piston to reset for another shot.
This phenomenon is what’s called a reverse recoil.
Specially designed air riflescopes can handle strong force coming from this recoil type.
Normal scopes may be out of luck, though, as most of them are not meant to handle it. Failure to consider this may cause them to break easily.
Nowadays, a few regular scopes are strong enough to handle even reverse recoil and can compete with any air rifle scope in terms of resilience.
Parallax adjustment is also different between the two kinds of scopes.
Some of you may have already been fully familiar with the term parallax, but for those who aren’t up to speed, it is an optical phenomenon where the scope’s focal plane is offset from the reticle, resulting in a potential missed target.
The parallax adjustment of a typical firearm scope begins at 25 yards, and the range is set at around 100 yards.
Anything outside this range would usually cause reticle DISTORTION, making it hard to get the desired shot.
This poses more issues, especially when the normal rifle scope is used with an air gun, which often works differently from regular rifles in terms of magnification.
An air rifle scope has a parallax range that can be adjusted to as low as 10 yards. This range is excellent when it comes to close-target shooting.
While air rifles can shoot further than 10m even when using a regular rifle scope, those designed for airguns further enhance the hunting experience no other can compare.
Air Rifle Scopes vs. Regular Rifle Scopes: The Similarities
Despite all the differences, both the regular and air riflescopes are, believe it or not, the same in terms of strength. LITERALLY.
As previously mentioned, normal riflescopes are becoming stronger and more durable to the point where they can compete with air riflescopes.
Like the scopes made for most air rifles, high-end riflescopes are thick, tough, and sometimes heavy to carry. They’re also on par in enduring much stress and force from recoil that even lower-quality optics don’t have.
In addition, the premium riflescopes can be placed on top of air rifles, just like airgun scopes. Talk about versatility!
Are Air Rifles Compatible With Both Regular and Air Rifle Scopes?
To answer the question based on what we’ve learned so far: Yes. Yes, it can!
As long as regular riflescopes are higher in quality and durable enough to withstand the strong pressure of the spring air rifle’s recoil, they will work just as fine as with specifically designed airgun-rated scopes.
In the case of low-powered air rifles, both the airgun scopes and the regular scopes do okay. But always be on the lookout with normal scopes because they might break anytime regardless.
Air Rifle Scope vs. Iron Sights
While air riflescopes and other types of scopes are a great way to sight your target, did you know that it’s not the only way to do so?
According to Hunter-Ed, there are three types of sights:
- Open or Iron Sights: With physical horizontal and vertical points, the bead or iron post aligns with the desired target
- Aperture/Peep Sights: A round ring is placed behind the bead or iron post from the shooter’s perspective, allowing for more accurate targeting
- Telescopic Sights (Scopes): Miles ahead of the iron or peep sight in terms of accuracy; and they’re easy to use
Unlike scopes with plenty of magnification options and lens adjustments, peep and iron sights are viewed manually — this means they are obviously not magnifiable.
This can be a huge disadvantage for shooters who use iron sights as their choice optic.
However, despite not having all the upgraded features found in all other scopes, iron sights can still be a big help in shooting accurately, even at distances as far as 1000 yards.
Sure, the 1000 yards sounds like a far reach already, given the sight is ideal only for distances up to 300 or lower.
But, with enough practice and skill, shooters could get the best out of the iron sights when hunting for targets.
While iron sights sound as if they’re made for expert marksmen with all the intimidating features, riflescopes are just like a walk in the park.
Air riflescopes are easier to handle even by those new to shooting, plus they provide features that help them take down their desired target.
Such features that we’ve already discussed so far include:
- Magnification range options
- Adjustable turrets for the lens
- Illuminated reticle with a variety of colors
- Built-in laser range finder and a video camera for recording (in some higher-end scopes)
If you still want extra assistance finding your target, we cannot recommend using the air rifle scope enough.
But if you feel like you’re up to bigger challenges, why not go for iron sight optics?
Summary of Top Picks
Best Overall – Hawke Airmax 30mm SF 8-32x50mm
- Multi-coated and a large objective lens for exceptional image quality
- Glass-etched AMX red-illuminated reticle for precise and flexible targeting
- Perfect scope for beginners who are just starting out
- Ultimately made to pair with most air rifles, therefore is our superior pick
Best Value – UTG 30mm Accushot 4-16x44mm
- Jam-packed with competitive air rifle scope features within the $100 range
- Mil-dot reticle illuminated with the choice of 36 colors
- Can hold even the strongest force from traditional rifles
- Perfect to use and keep for long periods of time
Best Budget Pick – BSA Optics Outlook 3-9x40mm
- Multi-coated adjustable objective lens for better views even at high magnification
- Shock-resistant and durable even going through 800 rounds
- Guaranteed zeroed-in shots without any additional adjusting efforts
- Very solid scope at a very budget-friendly price
We hope to have enlightened you with our recommendations and additional tips to guide you when buying new scope!
Just remember that ultimately, the choice is up to you.
Before you go, don’t forget to check:
- The magnification range
- The size of the objective lens
- The kind of reticle or focal plane for your preferred shooting situations.
- The scope tube durability and if it’s wide enough for the scope mounts to fit.
Good luck, and happy hunting!
FINAL TIP: If you’re looking for some more budget-friendly options, we also have a buying guide on air rifle scopes under 100 dollars.