You’ve probably been on the lookout for the right rifle scope for quite some time. Or, you have listed a few you already like but are looking for something a little different. And when buying a rifle scope, you need to keep an eye on the budget too. Keeping all that in mind, we have picked several contenders so you can find the best rifle scope under $400.
When it comes to buying scopes, or any other weaponry, you may want to note that knowing precisely what you want is vital. And to help with that, we have even added a few guidelines for finding the right scope for your use.
That way, you won’t be making any mistake during purchase and can refrain from a colossal waste of money.
Shall we get started?
Why Spend 400 Dollars?
Why not buy a good scope, with many beautiful features but within your budget? Scopes within $400 are not even that similar to each other. They are all diverse in functions, so you can always sift through and choose the ones that suit you best.
So, should you spend 400 dollars or less on a scope that works well?
Of course. With the right amount of information, and given that you find a scope that suits you within this price range, you can easily buy one and use it. Thankfully, there are a lot of options for scopes below 400 dollars, and all of them are some of the very bests.
However, if your requirements are a little more extreme, for example, if you want the absolute most unobstructed view of your target, or you want the most intense magnification, you will have to loosen up your purse-strings a little.
But the scopes listed here are good enough for general hunting and target practice, and should not be that hard to choose from.
See Also: Best Scopes Under $300
The real question here is, who should be spending 400 dollars looking for the best scope out there?
First of all, people who happen to be a newbie would want to get enough experience and knowledge about guns before buying one. Plus, people on a budget can afford to spend a small amount of money for something good.
Herein, scopes under $400, consisting of some of the best features you need for a proper hunting rifle scope, will help.
The fact is that most scopes, especially the good ones, cost the right amount of money, and many people may assume that the most expensive ones tend to be of the best quality. While that is somewhat true, it’s not like cheaper scopes that are less than 400 dollars will be horrible.
As you will see from the reviews, most of these scopes are almost as good as the more expensive ones and can be used with ease.
8 Best Scopes Under $400
Weapon parts tend to be a little expensive anyway, as they should be, for various reasons. But there are some excellent ones which serve their purpose well and save money for users.
We’ll be looking at and evaluating eight such scopes, so you can easily decide to buy whichever suits you best.
#1. Vortex Optics Spitfire Prism Scopes
For the scope of such a reasonable price, this has surprisingly impressive features. This is a 3x scope, perfect for medium or close-range shooting, not so great for more significant distances. But it still allows you to get a pretty good view, especially in the dark, with its illuminated reticles, consisting of five different levels of intensity.
While it does not provide a wide range, it makes up for it at precision. The prism-based design keeps this scope accurate, even during super-fast movements. So, you get to your target quickly but without compromising the optical quality of the scope, which can only benefit you by perfecting your focus.
Do you know what else helps with focus? A significant amount of resistance to recoil. We understand how important it is to keep your gun stable, and using this scope, your view and focus will always be unaffected by any kind of impact or excessive movement. Added to that, this scope has fog and waterproofing, which keeps it safe from harsh weather conditions.
The scope isn’t just about to focus, though, which is something you probably know if you are a regular user of these products. You also need one that can give you a good view of various heights, and fortunately, this one does just that. You can set it up to 40mm, which is a pretty good height for a 3x. We can see why this one falls among the bests.
- Illuminated reticles for darkness
- Allows accuracy during quick movements
- Fog and water-resistant
- Not suitable for long distances
#2. Burris 300177 AR Prism
This particular scope comes with three different variations of reticle colors, red, green, and black. You can shift between the three, depending on the light intensity and brightness of the area you will be mainly focusing on. This way, you get the opportunity to adjust to the lighting, to increase the accuracy of the scope’s focus.
You can mount this thing well and will find that it is perfect for medium distance shootings. It can be counted as the best scope under 400 dollars, given that it meets the requirements perfectly, of the user. This scope will surprise you with its sturdiness, stability, and super useful lens protectors that keep the sun and water out.
The one problem is that sturdy and durable as it is, this scope is not meant for fast fires. If you want accuracy and stability, it would be best to take your time, focus, and fire with it. There are a few other scopes that are far more suitable for quick target and fire; if that is your requirement, this would not be the scope to go for.
- Various reticle colors
- Durable and sturdy
- Easily mountable scope
- Cannot be used for fast fires
#3. Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Riflescope
Many people don’t expect much from scopes bellow 400 dollars, but you will not have the same worry once you use this particular one. As it so happens, despite the very reasonable price, this product is awe-inspiring, with various features that make it one of the bests to use.
Most people, along with clarity, look for stability in their scopes. This is necessary to retain focus on a target, and to make sure that your shot hits home. Thankfully, this scope is resistant to shock and impact, which means that it can absorb the force of heavy recoils. This feature saves the user from a lot of hassle.
You may not get that much of a clear view with the lens of this scope, though, but it is perfect for mid-range shooting. The focus is not horrible, but it could be better. However, if you are looking for the best rifle scope for 400 dollars or less, you won’t be disappointed. You can zoom in and out easily and will find that the scope itself moves smoothly, so you can shift quickly to change targets.
The tube is made from aluminum, which makes it extra sturdy and durable for rough use. You can rely on this scope to last a long time, and make working with it very easy for you, thanks to its sophisticated reticle design. The lens is multi-coated, which means it can provide a clear view of your target in different light intensities.
- Shock resistant
- Easy focusing and zooming
- Durable aluminum body
- Multi-coated lens
- The lens could be clearer
#4. Vortex Optics Crossfire II
This Vortex Optics scope is dedicated to giving you the clearest, best view of whatever target you have your eye on. Every feature adds to the increased focal quality of the scope, so the user can comfortably shift targets, without having to worry too much about losing stability.
With this scope, you can focus on objects at various lengths and distances, which makes it perfect for hunting. While there are some scopes, that at this price, only allow mid-range shooting, this is far more flexible. This is made possible by the Dead-Hold BDC reticle added to the scope, which you can only be thankful for.
You may find it, especially as a beginner, a little tough to work with this scope. That’s mostly because of the cap that covers the lens of the scope, which has to be removed each time during use. It’s not much, but it could pose a hassle if you are in a hurry.
Otherwise, this model is perfect for a good hunting rifle like 338 Lapua Magnum, if you want a clear view of varying distances.
You can easily use it at night and under intense light, as well. The lens is made out of anti-reflective glass, which creates an even better, clearer view, compared to a similar model. It’s hard to go wrong with a scope like this. This scope and 17 WSM is a deadly combination for hunting.
- Anti-reflective and multi-coated glass
- Allows zooming in and out to various distances
- Clear view and flexible adjustments
- Lens cap gets in the way
#5. Vortex Optics Diamondback
Vortex Optics Diamondback is well-made for the outdoors. With its water and fog-proofing, it remains protected during excessively harsh conditions. This means, rain or shine, day or night, you can use this scope to its full advantage, and focus with ease, on whatever your target may be.
Unlike other scopes, this one reaches quite a distance. You can zoom in and out, totally according to your liking and preference, and target objects far away, with ease. The clarity provided is good enough for hunting in the wild in different weather situations.
The lens that comes with this scope may lack the kind of clarity you especially find with high-end ones, but it will still serve its purpose. While it may not be impressively clear, it is still multi-coated, offering a few different colors, which you can shift between for the desired amount of brightness.
Moreover, this is a sturdy, strong scope that can endure rough use for a long period. It comes with a reticle that is very accurate and suitable for long-distance shootings. What’s more, it has a quick reset technique to take you straight back to zero, without any hassle whatsoever.
- Fog and waterproofing
- Long-distance focus
- Durable and accurate
- The lens lacks clarity
#6. Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex
If you’re on the lookout for the best scopes for hunting rifles, you may have stumbled upon the right product. Very few scopes of this price range can beat the many features this scope comes with. Whatever good qualities it has, only adds to the scope’s capabilities to make hunting much easier.
This scope has it all. It keeps the user safe with its impressive resistance to impact and recoil. This means it absorbs most of the shock that comes from shooting and remains stable afterward. It also keeps itself from unwanted moisture. The water and fog-proofing features make sure no matter the condition, your scope, and thus, visibility remains unaltered.
While there are a few great rifle scopes made out of aluminum, which tends to be a very sturdy material, this is made out of steel. This difference in make may account for a decreased level of durability, in which case, users must exercise caution when using this scope.
When handled with care, it works great! It has high levels of accuracy, which means you can focus on your target well, really fast. Plus, if you want to shoot in low light, as many tend to do, you can do so by using the many different lenses that are multi-coated and made for this exact purpose.
- Suitable for hunting rifles
- Quick shock absorption
- Protection from moisture
- Clear lens and quick focus
- May not be too durable
#7. Bushnell AR Optics, Drop Zone BDC
Every user needs to get a scope that allows them to change and adjust to different situations or issues that may arise. Keeping that in mind, recommending this one as the best scope seems vital. It offers many different options you can switch between, especially when figuring out the magnification and focus.
However, while this scope allows for a lot of options to choose from, it may not be great for all kinds of targets, near or far. The lens is not as clear as you may hope, and you could end up looking at distorted or slightly darkened images if you do zoom in or focus at a greater distance.
It does come with a varying selection of multi-coated lenses, so if you do find that your image is getting dark, shifting from one lens to another to adjust to the light intensity may help. So, despite the decreased level of accuracy and visibility of the lens, this scope may still work for you.
If nothing else (which is hardly the case), this scope is extremely durable. So, once you buy it, and for a reasonable price, too, you won’t be losing it any time soon. The aluminum alloy that makes up the body of the equipment keeps it sturdy and prevents damage during impact or other harsh conditions. This is, of course, a necessary feature for outdoorsy equipment such as this one.
- Adjustable distances
- Multi-coated lenses
- Durable aluminum alloy body
- Images may be distorted at great lengths
#8. UUQ C4-12X50 Rifle Scope
Well, this scope should be categorized as scope under 100, but considering its quality we are putting it here. This is a good scope for hunting rifles, since it can adjust well to quick movements, and there are fewer chances of losing your focus or stability with a swift motion.
So, in time of a hurry, you can quickly shift focus, but the scope will retain whatever stability is necessary to locate the target once more.
It’s quite easy to operate, which makes it especially the best for beginners, who may face some trouble with just any scope. But this one is a little on the heavier end, which could pose some trouble. Then again, this scope is so full of great features, a slight increase in weight should not be much of a problem to most.
The scope is designed for precision, and it serves its purpose very well. You will get high-resolution images, as well as accurate reticles in both red and green, which can help you with finding the correct range. You even get a green laser pointer with it, which can be removed, so in case you need some extra help for targeting an object, you can get it easily.
Many buyers worry about the durability of the equipment, as well as the setup, as they should. After all, in the outdoors, you have to do everything yourself, so it is better to know beforehand, which scopes will be easier to work with.
This is perfect for both beginners and professionals, which is why it falls among the bests. The sturdy aluminum body keeps it durable for years, and the advanced design makes setting up super easy.
- Stable and accurate
- Added laser pointer for targeting
- Durable aluminum body
- Easy setup
- The scope can be quite heavy
Things to Consider with a Budget Under $400
With a slightly lower budget, you will have to make one or two sacrifices, naturally. You probably won’t be able to get your hand on the best of the best out there, but given the many scopes out there that are for $400 or less, you can probably get a pretty good deal. That is if you know what kinds of features you need or want.
When it comes to these features that the scope you have your eye on may or may not carry, a good amount of knowledge about weaponry is necessary. This means you have to know exactly what makes a scope great, and which features you, in particular, require.
Of course, professionals can easily identify these, but it’s the beginners who need help, and that’s where we come in.
The Objective Lens
These scopes, mostly used for hunting, are preferable when they are suitable for long-range shooting. And if you want to see for a larger distance, you need a scope with a lens that produces a very clear image of your target. For that, getting the right type of objective lens is the key, so that is what we will discuss first.
The objective lens allows light in, which then produces the image that you see of your target, through the scope. This image is naturally clearer when the lens is bigger. This happens because a bigger lens lets more light in, and the more the light, the clearer, and brighter the image.
So, if you get a scope with a big objective lens, you are sure to get a much clearer picture through it. And if the image is clear enough, your target and shot will be that much more precise, which, in the end, is what you really want out of a good scope.
Large objective lenses are not only good for clearer images, though. For instance, if you want to use a scope at a time when light intensity is lower, you will fare well with one that has a bigger objective lens. Why? Logically, these lenses have more area to allow more light in, which in turn will create a far brighter image for you to look at.
Now, not all great scopes have big objective lenses. Those that are made for mid-range shooting will have different features. But if you want a clear view and a much larger area to look at and locate targets, you can seriously consider larger objective lenses. They will only make your work easier.
Related: Best Scopes Under $200
The BDC Reticle
This is a very specific yet very important feature you have to keep in mind when you are buying your scope. If you are buying hunting rifles especially, and those containing multiple cartridges, you should opt for BDC reticles in your scope.
They don’t go with just any rifle, and normally suit only those with multiple cartridges. If you do not have long-range weaponry that goes with reticles such as these, you can always put in a customized order.
Yes, that is possible and convenient, since then, you can create a reticle completely according to your requirements and specifications.
They even build you a customized turret, along with your reticle in some places, which work out well for all users.
You may think and worry that customized equipment will be more bad luck than good, since they may cost a little more than others. But fortunately, this is now the more cost-effective and efficient option, so you have absolutely nothing to lose.
So, if you are the type of user who has to switch from range to range, who needs quick movements, a BDC reticle is perfect for you! It keeps your target accurate and adjusts to shifts in position, even if they are quick and fleeting.
So, using a scope that has a BDC reticle will give you greater control over your gun and scope, and improve your targeting.
One thing to note is that most of these BDC reticles are made for mid-range shooting and only suit guns with the complementary design. If you are a long-range shooter, you probably won’t need this reticle, since your movement is limited.
For mid-range shooters, it is necessary, and you will get a good variety of reticles that suit your style.
This is a very important feature. Since the scope’s main job is to increase visibility for its users, even at long distances, the option to zoom in and zoom out is vital. It’s one of those features that has to be there in every scope, to increase accuracy and make targeting that much easier.
However, if you are on a budget, you may want to watch the magnification. While precision is important, staying within your spending limit is vital, too, and getting a super high-quality magnification will up the price of the scope.
Try to stay within your limit and still find a scope that suits you in every way and makes your work that much easier.
Plus, you may think that zooming in can only be advantageous for you, but that is not the case. Once you zoom in, your field of view will decrease, and so, it may be harder for you actually to find a target.
And there is the added trouble of having a heavier scope since the objective lens has to be bigger too if the magnification is given precedence.
In terms of magnification, your focus should be on the zooming in and out. You need to find out if the scope of your choice allows it or not, and if it does, how smooth the transitions are. Because just carrying this option is not enough.
If your focus shifts while you’re just zooming in or out, you will lose the accuracy of your shot and it will just be more of a hassle.
This feature depends on the shooting you want to be doing. If you want to shoot mid-range, you have to find a scope that goes with mid-range weapons. For long-distance shooting, you get another set of scopes, which have different features.
It’s important to find a scope that complements your style and weapon, so you don’t waste money.
Mid-range shooters normally give precedence to movement and speed. When you are shooting from a closer range, you may have to move quickly to stay with your target, and that is made easier by a scope that is fast enough.
If you want to focus closer, get a scope that is stable and accurate, and can zero in on an object without much help. Since you won’t be needing looking very far, you can make do without the magnification.
For long-range shooters though, it’s very different. You need the magnification that will allow you to access farther distances and see clearly. For your use, precision is of utmost importance, and speed is secondary.
So, look for a scope that is fairly fast but very, very precise. It has to be good enough to zoom in, even with low light intensity and produce sharp, clear images.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find a scope that works well in the dark?
The first thing to consider would be the options you have to switch up between different reticle colors. Some scopes come with five different colors, some with three. It’s a matter of preference, really but the reticle color will affect your visibility in the dark.
Another important feature to think about is the size of your objective lens. Obviously, the bigger the lens, the more light that enters, increasing the brightness and overall visibility. If you want a scope that helps you see clearly in the dark, find one with a bigger objective lens, and it should work fine.
What is the difference between a scope with an aluminum body and that made with steel?
Scopes tend to have heavy metal bodies, which keep them sturdy enough to tolerate rough use. The material that makes up the body of scope determines how heavy and durable it is. And if you do want durability, you’ll want to find an aluminum alloy scope, which is known to last longer.
Scopes made out of steel are less common and tend to be lower in the list of the bests compared to aluminum alloys. Aluminum is known to be used in making much good quality equipment, and that happens to include scopes. If you want a long-lasting product, go for the aluminum body.
Do these come with additional laser pointers and are they removable?
Only the UUQ C4-12X50 scope that is made for rifles has this feature. It is a bonus, since it helps with target spotting, especially in the dark. And yes, it can be removed and reattached, according to the needs of the user. Other than this one model, there are no other scopes with this feature, which fall among the bests within 400 dollars.
What are the features I should consider if I want a stable scope?
Stability comes with weight, so in this case, a slightly heavier scope may be advantageous for you. Plus, you need to look for one that has really good shock absorption, and does not shift all that much during recoils. With a scope that can maintain a target despite the force of recoil, you will find a lot of stability.
If I want extra magnification, the weight will increase. Is that disadvantageous?
If you do go for extra magnification, you will have to sacrifice your speed for precision. It kind of works out, because if your target is accurate, you can hit an object with one shot, and won’t have to follow it quickly, right after. The weight will slow you down but won’t be much of an issue otherwise.
Given the list, reviews, and recommendations, you may now be successfully able to find the best rifle scope under 400 dollars, for yourself.
With the suggestions and discussion of features that best suit a scope of under 400 dollars, you will now have a good idea about what to look for.
Hopefully, you are now ready to go all out and shop.