8 Best Rifle Scopes Under 300: Budget, Affordable

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8 Best Rifle Scopes Under 300

Finding the perfect rifle scope for hunting can be a bit overwhelming. There are just different considerations to think about. Rifle scopes come in different sizes, functions, and prices that you can choose from.

The price range of scopes is also something to consider. The good news is that there are several rifle scopes you can buy under $300!

In this article, we will show you 8 of the best rifle scopes you can buy without breaking the bank.

8 Best Low Budget Rifle Scopes Under 300

1. Nikon PROSTAFF P5 3-12x42SF Riflescope 16620

BEST OVERALLNikon 1

Coming in our number one spot, Nikon offers a variable zoom rifle scope – a multi-purpose scope that can be used in different scenarios such as range shooting to tree stand hunting.

The Nikon P5 has a BDC 600 reticle for aiming points and hash marks from 100 to 600 yards. This is a type of reticle used to create a more open feel.

It also has zero-reset turrets, which offers an option to adjust the windage and elevation.

As for magnification features, this comes with a variable magnification from 3x to 9x.

With a 40mm objective lens, this gear has fully multi-coated optics that create a light transmission of 98%. This makes it among the best riflescopes to use in terms of shooting in low light conditions.

This Nikon P 223 scope also has a 100-yard Parallax, which makes this scope the perfect choice for shooting at ranges close to 100 yards.

Another impressive benefit is the standard eye relief with a size of 3.6 inches and an exit pupil range of 3.3-10mm that is perfect for long-range shots. This scope also has a tube size of 1 inch.

Is Nikon the Right Choice for You?

If you are looking for an impressive hunting rifle scope under 300 bucks perfect for longrange shooting, while remaining lightweight and compact, this is the one for you.

Pros:

  • Several magnification features
  • High-quality shooting
  • Good for low light conditions
  • Ideal for long-range shots
  • Lightweight and compact

Cons:

  • No separate parallax adjustment

2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4 x16 x 50mm

BEST VALUE

Vortex 2

The Vortex Optics Crossfire II is an amazing choice for an entry-level riflescope thanks to its high-quality materials.

With a 4-16x magnification range, this scope will surely be amazing for a variety of hunting situations.

The Vortex Optics scope comes with an adjustable objective, which helps with focusing on the image of your target.

This also comes with a Dead Hold BDC reticle – perfect for hunting and shooting at different ranges.

In addition, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II is equipped with an eye relief of 3.7 inches and a fast focus eyepiece that helps you to detect your target fast and take shots easily for wild game.

An image will be brighter because of its big exit pupil size. Hence, this best rifle scope’s exit pupil has a range of 3.2 up to 12.5mm, which makes an image brighter under low light conditions.

Not to mention, this scope offers a fast focus eyepiece that will help keep the image clear.

Equipped with fully multi-coated optics, this Vortex Crossfire II scope has the ability to capture images that are vivid and clear.

Now, what about the material grade?

The scope tube that comes with this best rifle scope is made from aircraft-grade aluminum while the main tube is a matte finish to prevent any glare.

Is Vortex Optics the Right Choice for You?

This Vortex Optics Crossfire II scope is truly impressive. For the amazing features it encompasses, this scope under 300 bucks will surely win you over.

Vortex also offers good ACOG clone options, if you’re interested.

Pros:

  • Easy to focus on target
  • Images captured are vivid and clear
  • Waterproof, Shockproof, and Fog-proof
  • Ideal for low light conditions
  • Good magnification range

Cons:

  • Not fully multicoated
  • Image can be a bit blurry at full magnification

3. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40 1in Riflescope

BEST BUDGET PICK

Leupold 3

Leupold is a brand known for making gears with quality and ruggedness.

This VX Freedom would be your best bet if you’re looking for best-in-class optics that would produce clear images.

With a 3: 1 zoom ratio, this offers an erector system suitable for a wide range of shooting situations.

Aside from that, this scope makes use of a Rear Focal Plane reticles. This is also known as the second focal plane, in which the reticle will always stay the same size even with different magnifications used.

This type of focal plane is more ideal when it comes to shooting your target at a close range.

This rifle scope has 1/4 MOA Finger Click feature for windage and elevation turrets. The majority of the scopes being sold have this 1/4 MOA Finger Click feature.

Minute of Angle ( MOA) is an angular measurement used in rifle shooting. This is a helpful tool for you to calculate the adjustment you need to hit the target at any distance, whether on the field or shooting range.

In addition to that, this Leupold scope comes with a Fast Focus Eyepiece, making its reticle focus more quickly.

This scope also has an objective lens diameter of 40mm, an exit pupil of 3.4mm, and an eye relief of 4.9-3.7 inches.

This Leupold VX also has a one-inch tube which makes it more lightweight and features a matte finish as well.

Had enough? Frankly, that’s not all this budget rifle scope has to offer.

It even has scratch resistant lenses that are on par with military standards. It’s also waterproof and fogproof making it the perfect rifle scope for tough conditions.

Is Leupold the Right Choice for You?

Overall, this is one of the best rifle scopes under 300 dollars that impresses us with its high-quality material and usefulness.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Scratch-resistant lenses
  • Captures a clear vision of the image
  • Ideal for close range shooting or hunting
  • Fully Multicoated optics

Cons:

  • Not ideal for far distance shooting

4. Nikon Prostaff P3 Predator Hunter 3-9X40 Bdc Predator Riflescope

Nikon 4

Being a product under Nikon Prostaff P3, you’re sure to expect amazing quality.

This riflescope with a one-inch tube size was designed by the brand with a serious hunter in mind.

This Nikon Prostaff 5 scope comes with a BDC reticle with Spot on Ballistic Match technology. This type of reticle is responsible for precise shots suited to longer-range shooting.

What’s even more amazing is you could also use the phone application called “Spot On” to know precise aiming points.

You will be needing a rifle, a Nikon riflescope, a range finder, and this application. This application will help you in displaying shot possibilities.

Aside from that, this also has an eye relief of 3.8 to 4 inches that helps in providing a clear field view.

The objective size of this scope is 40mm, with a field of view of 9.9 -40.4 feet.

This scope also has zero-reset turrets, which makes it more ideal for fast aiming, and makes the turrets easy to adjust.

It also has fully multi-coated optics that are also anti-reflective. This helps in giving you a vivid and clear picture with less eye strain.

Also, this scope is also waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof, which makes it a perfect companion for a variety of situations.

This Nikon gear also comes in matte finish.

Is Nikon Prostaff the Right Choice for You?

If you are looking for an amazing rifle scope under an affordable price range, this best rifle scope under 300 bucks is the one for you.

Pros:

  • Gives a fantastic picture
  • Provides better-aiming points
  • Ideal for fast aiming
  • Shockproof, waterproof, and fog-proof
  • Can use phone application for shot possibilities

Cons:

  • Parallax knob is made of plastic

5. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12 x40

Vortex 5

This is also one of the best scopes under Vortex that offers a magnification range of 4x-12x.

Just like the Vortex optics Crossfire II, this riflescope also offers a Dead-Hold Bdc Reticle.

This type of reticle is ideal to lessen the bullet hold-over at long-distance shooting. It’s the reason why this reticle is an effective type of reticle used in different firearms.

It also has a second focal plane type of reticle, which means that the reticles should always stay in the same size even if you change the magnification.

With a 4-12×40 scope, this scope offers an adjustable lens to provide better and accurate adjustments that you can choose for windage and elevation.

In addition to that, this scope also has an eye relief of 3.1 inches, an exit pupil size of 3.3-10mm, and a field of view of 32.4- 11.3 ft. at 100 yards.

Just like the other rifle scopes, this also offers multi-coated lenses that help in producing vivid and clear images.

Finally, this scope comes with a tube size of 1 inch. Its tube is also made from aircraft-grade aluminum that can withstand any condition.

Is Diamondback the Right Choice for You?

The Vortex Optics Diamondback is a reliable, solid choice when it comes to buying a great rifle scope under 300 bucks.

It’s affordable, lightweight, and great for long-distance targets. However, it’s not as clear as you would expect it to be.

If you’re looking for a scope that’s great for both long and close-range shooting, you might want to check out other products first.

Pros:

  • Affordability
  • Lightweight
  • Ideal for long-distance shooting
  • Produces clear and bright images
  • Waterproof, Fog-proof, and Shockproof

Cons:

  • Image can be a bit blurry at full magnification
  • Eye relief is short
  • Not ideal for close range
  • Not fully multicoated

6. Leupold VX 2-3-9x40mm

Leupold 6

Easy to use with impressive features, the Leupold VX 2 3 is a riflescope that is sure to stand out.

Leupold VX 2 3 is a brand known for creating high-quality optics.

This VX 2 riflescope features a high-quality 50mm objective lens that provides a bright and clear resolution.

This VX 2 scope’s tube size is 1 inch and also offers 3.5x to 10x magnification.

You will surely be able to choose the magnification setting you want and adjust the zoom size with this riflescope. This VX 2 scope also comes with an eye relief size of 3.7 inches to 4.2 inches.

In addition, this VX 2 also has an 11ft. field of view. This pertains to the size of the area you will see at 100 yards or meters when using a VX 2 riflescope.

Take note: The higher the magnification scope, the smaller it would be.

This VX 2 scope also features a Duplex Reticle, a popular style of reticle that has longer posts on the top and sides and a shorter bottom post.

Aside from that, this duplex reticle gear also features DiamondCoat2- Ion-assist coatings which are used for higher light transmission that are scratch-resistant.

The Leupold VX 2 -3-9x40mm comes with a 1/4 MOA clicks and a 3:1 zoom ratio. This is also a very lightweight scope in its category, with a weight of 10.8 ounces.

Is Leupold the Right Choice for You?

This is one of the most outstanding rifle scopes under 300 bucks that is lightweight and made of high-quality materials.

Although it doesn’t give off impressive features or marks compared to our top 3 picks, it’s a solid rifle scope under 300 that gets the job done.

Pros:

  • Affordable VX 2 scope under 300
  • Lightweight
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Bright and clear resolution
  • Waterproof, Shockproof, and Fog proof

Cons:

  • No parallax adjustment

7. Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9×40 Matte BDC600

Nikon 7

Nikon’s P-tactical riflescope series offers outstanding brightness and clarity that comes with its multi-coated lenses.

Aside from that, this hunting scope also comes with a BDC reticle, which is perfect for longrange shooting.

The BDC reticle has see-through aiming circles to help you view your target through the dots.

With this type of reticle, you could make use of Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Match Technology.

This also features a 40 mm objective lens, while the exit pupil is at 4.4mm up to 13.3 mm.

The magnification of this riflescope ranges from 3x to 9x, which is an ideal range to see your target from a distance.

Meanwhile, this scope has a tube size of 1 inch and you will also get an eye relief of 3.6-3.6 inches and a field of view of 11.3 -33.8 at 100 yards.

This scope also offers spring-loaded instant zero-rest turrets, which would enable you to lift the turret and put it back to the zero mark after sighting in. You can do turret adjustments.

Turrets are the little knobs on top often situated at the left side of a riflescope.

Turrets are responsible for the windage and elevation of your gear. Windage adjustment refers to the left and right movements, while elevation adjustment refers to the up and down movements.

Meanwhile, the eye relief that comes with this scope is 3.6 inches.

Is P-Tactical the Right Choice for You?

This riflescope is an amazing hunting scope that you can consider, most especially if you are interested in the BDC reticle.

Pros:

  • Affordable scope under 300
  • Bright and clear image
  • Shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof
  • Easy usage of turrets

Cons:

  • Eye relief is a bit shorter compared to competitors
  • Reticle is not illuminated

8. Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP

Primary Arms 8

This scope comes from the SLx optics line of Primary Arms.

What’s revolutionary about this scope is that it is Primary Arms’ first foray into the first focal plane (FFP) optics.

The brand introduces its HUD DMR reticle with this scope.

According to Primary Arms, this reticle promises to “solve the problems when engaging targets of opportunity and limited exposure at unknown ranges.”

This type of reticle can be extremely fast and accurate even at a magnification level of up to 14x.

This was also built with an aircraft-grade aluminum body and comes in a matte black finish.

In addition, this scope also comes with a variable 4-14 magnification scope.

With a first focal plane, the size of the reticle will change once the scope’s magnification is changed. This allows for quicker and more accurate shooting in long-range situations.

This scope has a tube diameter of 30mm. It also offers an exit pupil size of 11.2 mm to 3.3.mm, while the eye relief is at 80 mm to 82mm.

Meanwhile, the coated lens used in this scope is multicoated to prevent any glare.

Aside from that, this scope also offers partial red illumination with 5 brightness settings.

Is Primary Arms the Right Choice for You?

Overall, this scope from Primary Arms is one of the best riflescopes out there that is more geared towards advanced shooters and for longrange shooting.

Pros:

  • Affordability
  • Ideal for long-range shooting
  • Waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof
  • Aluminum body

Cons:

  • Not so ideal in other light conditions
  • Lens used is not fully multicoated
  • Not ideal in close-range shooting

Buying Guide: Key Considerations When Choosing a Riflescope

Buying Guide

There are still many things you need to consider when looking for a riflescope.

Aside from considering the price range that fits your budget, here are some of the information that you need to consider before purchasing a scope :

Identify the Purpose of Your Scope

This is the first important step because you need to identify on what purpose you will be using the rifle scope.

You can use one for hunting, for competition, and target shooting.

This is why there are several scopes available. Examples of these scopes are target rifle scope, hunting rifle scope, and tactical rifle scope.

If you are a first time user or buyer of a scope, it is best to look for rifle scopes that are ideal for beginners and are easy to use.

Choose a Magnification According to Your Shooting Needs

If you are aiming for long-distance shooting, choose a riflescope with a higher magnification level that you can adjust to.

For an instance, a riflescope with a scope of magnification of 4x means that it will create an image that appears 4 times closer and larger.

A target that may appear 400 yards will appear as if it is just 100 yards away if you use a magnification level of 4x.

On the other hand, also consider the size of your target. A riflescope with a variable magnification scope is your best bet if you are a hunter who wants to zoom in and zoom out depending on the size of your target.

Meanwhile, another important consideration concerning your target is when you are hunting any game that are constantly on the move.

Scopes with a lower magnification are ideal because these targets require a scope with a wider field of view. A higher magnification gives a smaller field of view, thus making it harder to focus on the target.

As you can see, the level that you will be needing depends on your own preference and needs when shooting.

Consider the Size of the Objective Lens

Size

The objective lens size refers to the diameter of the lens, which is responsible for the amount of light that comes into the scope tube.

The larger the diameter of the lens, the more light there will be that comes into the scope tube.

Thus, the bigger the diameter of the lens, the clearer the image will be.

For several hunting conditions, scopes with an objective lens size of 32mm to 44mm are good options to consider since these have a good light-gathering capability and image quality together.

However, if you are hunting in low light situations, it is better to have a hunting riflescope that has a larger lens size such as scopes with 50mm to 56mm.

Besides, the size of the objective lens also affects your mounting position.

So if you have a larger size of lens, your objective bell will also be larger. The downside of this option is the need for higher mounting rings so that your objective bell won’t interfere with the barrel.

If you choose a smaller sized objective lens, this will lead to a low profile and you can choose to use the standard mount rings available in the market.

LEARN MORE: How to Mount a Rifle Scope Correctly

Choose the Right Type of Reticle

There are also different types of reticle that comes with every best scope.

The reticle is also known as a crosshair or the aiming point of the scope.

The type of reticle you have will play a huge impact on your best scope and shooting experience. This is what gives you a centralized aiming point.

For one, there is the Mil Dot Reticle, which as previously mentioned, is comprised of dots uniformly spaced from one another.

The Mil Dot reticle allows you to calculate the size and distance of your target. Because of that, this is recommended for long-distance hunters or shooters.

There is also the Non-Illuminated Reticle, which is ideal for daytime use since it has no illumination.

On the other hand, there is also the Illuminated Reticle type. This is typically powered by a small LED, with the colors varying from red, green, or amber.

These colors were chosen because they can be used in low light conditions without making your eye’s pupil contract so much.

We have also listed down a few Nikon scopes in this article having a Bullet Drop Reticle (BDC).

With this type of reticle, the hash marks are placed at a six o’clock position. What makes the BDC reticle special is that it can provide different aiming points to gauge the distances without really making other adjustments.

This BDC reticle is ideal for long-range shooters.

In addition, there is also the Duplex Reticle, which is a common type of reticle used in hunting rifle scopes.

The duplex reticle known as a simple, and all-purpose type of reticle. This simple uncomplicated choice is an ideal one for a variety of hunting situations.

For long-range shooting, we also recommend 1000 yard scopes.

Choose the Right Focal Plane Scope Suitable for Your Needs

There are two types of focal plane available for riflescopes – First Focal Plane and Second Focal Plane.

With the First Focal Plane (FFP), the reticle will change once the magnification size is changed.

For example, the size of the reticle will become larger once the magnification is also adjusted to a larger size.

This type of focal plane is suitable for shooting at long distances.

However, the downside of using the FFP is that it is easy to lose smaller reticle lines when using it in a dark background on close-range shooting.

Meanwhile, with the Second Focal Plane, the reticle will stay the same size even if you adjust the magnification size of your scope.

This type of plane is best to consider in terms of visibility and shooting your target at a close range.

In addition to that, the second focal plane is also easier to manufacture. Thus, there are more rifle scopes available that features this type of plane since it is also cheaper.

These two types of focal plane are very different and they both offer something special that you may be looking for.

LEARN MORE: How to Repair a Rifle Scope

Consider the Type of Optics in a Scope

Type

This is an important factor since it involves light transmission.

The lens coating used in scope is very useful since it reduces the glare and loss of sight caused by reflection. The more coatings used in a scope will translate to a better light transmission.

  • Coated optic means that there is a single layer of coating on at least one surface.
  • Fully coated optic refers to having a single layer on all air to glass surfaces.
  • Multi-coated optic means that there is more than one later of coating on at least one surface.
  • Fully Multi-coated optic refers to multiple layers of coating on all surfaces for better light transmission.

A fully multi-coated lens is the best choice because of the quality it offers. Even if this is the most expensive choice of the lens out there, lots of riflescopes listed in this article offer a fully multi-coated lens!

Check the Size of the Eye Relief

Eye relief refers to the distance between your eyes and the rear lens of your scope.

There are two types of eye relief available – standard eye relief and long eye relief.

The standard eye relief has a size of 3.5 to 4 inches. This is ideal for long-range shooting and it also offers the highest magnification available.

However, the downside of this eye relief is that it does not offer a large field of view.

Meanwhile, the long eye relief has a size of 4.5 inches and above.

The long eye relief is ideal for close-range shooting. It also helps in finding the target easily. The downside of this eye relief is it offers smaller magnification on your scope.

These two types of eye relief both have its advantages and disadvantages, which is why it’s important to consider the type of eye relief you need best for your scope.

Consider the Windage and Elevation Turrets

Windage

There are commonly two turrets available in a scope, but there are scopes that have three turrets as well.

Turrets are located commonly at the top left part of the scope. The windage and elevation turrets are responsible for the horizontal and vertical adjustments in a scope.

This is why it’s vital to look for a scope that has turrets you can rely on.

There are different types of turrets you can find in riflescopes.

The first type is target turrets, which are considered to be the most precise since they would allow you to make small and precise adjustments.

The second type is ballistic turrets, which are better at making larger adjustments. These types of turrets are ideal for tactical shooters who need to hit their target fast.

The last type is the capped turrets, which are fingertip adjustable. It also comes protected with a metal cap.

These are some of the things to keep in mind when considering the turrets of your scope. But at the end of the day, it all boils down to your preference and your needs when it comes to shooting.

Look for Other Specifications

Your scope needs to be waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof so that it can withstand tough conditions when you are finally using one for shooting and hunting.

The good news is that all of the budget scopes listed in this article have these features.

In addition to that, also check on the warranty that is available for the scope you want. Some brands do offer a lifetime warranty on their scopes so you might want to look into those.

Check out our article on how to measure your scope’s height for more guidance on how to use it as well.

RELATED: Do You Need a Red Dot on Top of Your Scope?

Top Picks

Top Picks

In this article, we have presented some of the best rifle scopes under $300. Here are some of the top choices that stood out:

The Nikon Prostaff P5 is the overall pick since it has so many amazing features that can be used in different shooting or hunting scenarios.

To name a few, this features a Spot On Ballistic Match Technology, zero-reset turrets, and several magnification options to choose from!

The Vortex Crossfire II budget scope is a worthy winner to be named the best rifle scope under 300 dollars.

It is a close runner-up since this is a rifle scope that is impressive even for an entry-level. Some of its outstanding features worth noting are 4-16x magnification range, Dead Hold BDC reticle, and an adjustable objective.

This rifle scope is also best for low light hunting situations. One other trick you can do with it is to zero in the scope.

In addition to that, this scope makes it easier to find your target and take your shots. This scope also deserves to be considered as the best rifle scope under 300 dollars.

LEARN MORE: How to Disassemble a Rifle Scope Correctly

Final Verdict

The scopes presented here are recommendations that aim to help you in choosing the ideal rifle scope without shelling out too much money.

Hopefully, this makes you realize that you don’t need to spend a fortune to have an impressive riflescope. There are several amazing scopes from an affordable price range, after all!

At the end of the day, there is no such thing as a perfect riflescope. All scopes will have their own share of advantages and disadvantages.

There are also many considerations to think about before purchasing one. With that in mind, the best rifle scope is really the best one that will work best for your needs.

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About the author

Christopher Wade

Christopher Wade

Christopher Wade is a true outdoorsman. After spending most of his career as a firearms expert and instructor in Nebraska, he retreated to the great outdoors to enjoy retirement.

Christopher’s expertise in handling firearms and hunting gear are what propelled him to create the Shooting Mystery blog. He hopes for all readers to gain useful and practical knowledge for enjoying their time outdoors.