Best Rifle Scope Under $300: The Ultimate Shopping Guide

Best Rifle Scope Under $300: The Ultimate Shopping Guide
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All gun owners want to get a quality optic for their rifle but is it really necessary to go after expensive products? Well, the answer is no. It’s true that the price of an optic and its performance are more or less related to each other. However, you could still find a good rifle scope with a reasonable price tag as long as you are willing to look around.  So if you want to check out some affordable optics on the market, this article should come in handy. Down below are some of the best rifle scopes under $300 and their characteristics for your consideration. You would be provided with a step by step instruction on how to make a wise investment well.

Before we take a look at the examples, do keep in mind that personal tastes and shooting styles vary a lot from people to people. The perfect rifle optic to someone else could have a lackluster performance in your case so consider your options carefully. Buying on a whim could make you waste money for a less than ideal product and that is why you must research beforehand. It’s not a bad idea to read customer reviews and user opinion of market products. While they are not always reliable, reviews and onions are great sources of information which you could use as references.

Top 6 Best Rifle Scopes Under $300 On The Market – 2018

Dont have much time? Here is the short list for you:

1/ Nikon PROSTAFF 5 – Best long range scope under $300


  • Reticle: BDC
  • Magnification: 3.5 – 14x
  • Lens diameter: 40mm

Equipped with a BDC reticle and a 4x quick focus eyepiece, Nikon PROSTAFF 5 is able to match a wide range of shooting application. Thanks to the Spot On Ballistic Match Technology, you no longer have to make a guess when it comes to compensating bullet drop. As a multicoated optic, PROSTAFF 5 could maximize light transmission if you are in a low light environment. The wide field of vision provided by the Nikon scope permits you to keep track of the target if you are surrounded by bushes.  In term of operation, the Spring-Loaded Instant Zero-Reset Turrets allow the average shooter to conveniently make adjustments in time of need.

To protect the user eyebrow from heavy recoil, the Nikon scow possesses a generous and consistent eye relief.   

The scope is waterproof and fog proof so it should function normally under adverse condition. To adjust the reticle, the optic utilize a 1/4 MOA click-stop correction mechanism so you could feel and hear the adjustment.  For most of the time, PROSTAFF 5 is capable of maintaining your setting even if subjected to repeated firing and challenging environment. It’s a high power scope that you could depend on in any situation.


  • Tough lens  
  • Light and easy to use  
  • Hold zero consistently
  • Excellent clarity at long distances


  • Oversensitive to movement
  • Quality control is barely acceptable
  • The packaging could use some improvements  

2/ Bushnell Throw Down PCL

  • Reticle: BDC
  • Magnification: 1 – 4x
  • Lense diameter: 24mm

Durable and precise, Bushnell Throw Down PCL is a flawless scope that offers its user nothing but satisfaction. It possesses excellent endurance compared to other products due to the presence of aluminum alloy along with an anodized finish. The illuminated BDC style reticle is well calibrated so you could shoot accurately up to 600 yards. Because the Bushnell optic is a multi-coated design, its light transmission level is considered commendable.  Overall, Bushnell Throw Down PCL would not disappoint you if all you need is a short to medium range scope for your rifle.

In case you are wondering about the name, Throw Down PCL is actually a reference of the scope adjusting mechanism. PCL stands for “Power Change Lever” which is attached to the optic magnification ring and Throw Down is its designation. The lever let you make rapid and accurate magnification adjustment even you are wearing gloves. Therefore, the scope is well liked by shooters in cold regions of the world. Because it’s sealed tight, the optic is invulnerable to water, dust and debris. It’s optimized for 5.56 x 45mm Nato, .223 Remington and similar calibers so the Bushnell scope is a good match for assault rifles.


  • Illuminated reticle
  • Solid construction
  • Pinpoint adjustment
  • Perform well in low light condition


  • Slightly heavy
  • Inconsistent performance  
  • Mediocre delivery service

3/ Leupold VX-2

  • Reticle: Duplex  
  • Magnification: 3 – 9x
  • Lense diameter: 40mm

Leupold is a well know brand in the optics business and Leupold VX-2 is of their best products. The scope is held in high regard by amateurs and professionals alike, it has everything you ever need. A convenient power indicator is available to help you determine the optic magnification level without having to change your position. Since it’s quite light and compact, you could easily carry the Leupold scope in extended hunting trips. Windage and elevation dials could be manipulated within a blink of an eye which eliminates unnecessary delay in tactical engagements.  

Leupold VX-2 is waterproof, fog proof and shockproof so this quality scope could handle pretty much anything you throw at it. The Quantum Optical System lens enhances overall contrast and provides the shooter with respectable light transmission level. To protect the lens, a DiamondCoat coating is applied to shield the glass surface from abrasion. A fast focus eyepiece is externally threaded to the Leupold scope so you could quickly acquire your target. To cleanse the scope lens, all you need is a couple of cotton swab and some pure alcohol or high-grade glass cleaner.  


  • High endurance
  • Smooth operation
  • Comfortable eye relief
  • Great scope for the price


  • May feel a bit stiff
  • The packaging is not really nice
  • Customers complain about receiving damaged products

4/ Muller Side Focus Tactical

  • Reticle: Mil-dot  
  • Magnification: 8 – 32x
  • Lense diameter: 44mm

Designed for long-range shooting, Muller Side Focus Tactical is a good choice for people in need of an exceptionally precise rifle scope. With a maximum magnification power of 32x, the optic is capable of bringing a distant object close to your eye.  The scope is tough and compatible with powerful rounds such as .338 Lapua Magnum or .416 Barrett. If needed, you could turn the scope around so you could use light long range ammunitions like .22-250 Remington. Due to the comfortable 4-inch eye relief, you don’t have to worry about ending up with a nasty scope eye.    

When being turned, the Muller Side Focus Tactical turrets would emit audible clicking noise so you could make accurate adjustments. Because it’s able to deal with heavy recoil from repeated firing in an efficient manner, the Muller product retains your zero setting consistently.  The scope lenses are multi-coat which maximize light transmission and minimize glare at high magnification levels. While the 32x power level is great for long range shooting, it’s unsuitable when you have to engage up close targets.


  • Ultra-fine reticle
  • Generous eye relief and hold its zero well
  • Excellent magnifying options and shooting stability
  • Reasonable cost compared to other high power scopes


  • Turret tuning is not exactly pleasant
  • Parallax adjustment could use some improvements
  • Several people receive scopes with missing features

5/ Burris Fullfield II

  • Reticle: BDC
  • Magnification: 4.5 – 14x
  • Lense diameter: 42mm

A combination of classic feature and modern technology, Burris Fullfield II is the scope that could be put to good use by everyone. The high-grade glass provides the shooter with excellent contrast and clarity in a variety of condition. Thanks to the no glare multicoat lens, you are able to shoot accurately in a low light environment.  

The scope Ballistic Plex reticle incorporated automatic BDC pattern for shooting between 1000 and 500 yards.      Made from top of the line material, the scope would last for generations without fail.


  • Nice magnifying levels
  • Great quality for the price
  • Backed by Burris Forever Warranty


  • Come without lens caps
  • No independent adjustment ring

6/ Barska AO Varmint – Best long range scope under $300

  • Reticle: Mil-dot  
  • Magnification: 6.5 – 20x
  • Lense diameter: 50mm

If you have a tight budget but still want to buy something good, you should definitely take a look at Barska AO Varmint.  When accuracy is one of your top priorities, the Barska scope would let you shoot with precision across long distances. The sizable objective lens and multi-coat design ensure top-notch clarity and light transmission in a wide range of condition. Being shockproof, waterproof and fog proof, the scope could wok in pretty much any type environment you could think of. In term of operation, Varmint features a convenient Adjustable Objective (AO), instant access zoom ring and high adjustment turrets.

However, Barska AO Varmint does have a couple of shortcoming such as slightly blur target image at 16x and above, it’s not very stable as well. But if you take into account its price tag, you would see that the scope is still an efficient investment for basic applications. It’s arguably one of the most affordable scopes you could get in its magnification range. Barska backed their product with a limited lifetime warranty so you are well taken care of in the long run.


  • Easy to wield
  • Quality and affordable  
  • Commendable reliability
  • Limited lifetime warranty


  • Get fuzzy at high power settings
  • The adjusting mechanism is not reliable
  • The customer service is less than helpful sometimes

Features and specification of the best rifle scope under $300


It’s often recommended to avoid abusing your optic too much since that is a delicate accessory. Constant slamming and rattling could make the scope lose its zero adjustments as well so don’t do anything extreme. Nonetheless, when it comes to hunting in the wilderness, you may have to traverse through dense bushes and rough terrains. This means a quality scope must be able to deal with slightly rough handling without breaking apart. Depend on the caliber of your rifle, repeated firing could throw the scope out of alignment so ensure you pick something that could handle the recoil.


The most notable advantage of rifle scopes over traditional iron sights is the ability to magnify the target. Everyone would have different magnification preference due to different shooting style. Low magnification scopes let you shoot faster base on personal experience as well as shooter tuition. In contrast, high magnification optic provides shooters with excellent vision but they are often unwieldy, costly and generally not versatile in certain situations. Variable power scopes let you change the magnification at will but they are pricey and not exactly tough.  For an average shooter, a magnifying power of 10x or below that should be sufficient.


One of the most critical components of a rifle scope is its objective lens, the bigger the lens, the brighter the target image. However, a sizable objective lens has a couple of issues that could affect the overall performance of the rifle optic. For example, a big lens must be mounted higher than smaller lenses which make it hard for you to keep up a proper cheek weld. Scopes with big objective lens have a negative impact on the rifle balance and your shooting skill too. As a result, you are advised to go after a scope with a small lens.  


Choosing a scope with an appropriate reticle pattern would considerably enhance your shooting accuracy so pick one that suits you the most. There are 3 popular types of reticle pattern that a rifle scope could employ nowadays.

BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator)

Scopes that employ this reticle help you shoot precisely over different distances without any need to adjust the scope setting.  A couple of aiming points are included within the reticle pattern that corresponds to different aiming distances.


This is a pretty simple reticle with a thin central crosshair that becomes thicker as it gets close to the scope outer section. The pattern allows you to concentrate your eyes toward the central section while thick bar assists you with aiming in low light condition.  


Often considered to be an enhanced version of the Duplex, Mildot reticle excels at long distance shooting. There are several dots integrated into the reticle pattern that you could use to calculate the target range and wind speed. If you are an experienced shooter, a scope with a Mil-dot reticle should come in handy in many applications.


And those are some the best rifle scope under $300 on the market nowadays, see anything you like? Unless you have sophisticated requirements, you don’t really need to get an expensive top of the line scope. With the help of this article, you should be able to get a scope that is both quality and affordable.

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