Elk hunting is not that easy. Unlike the easier preys that are out there, Elks can surely surprise you with their pace.
These preys do not light in normal conditions. The terrains that they tread on are pretty rough.
A mere mindset is not really enough if you want to land your shots on one of these fast-running beasts. You will also require a proper set of gears and a good amount of skill level for that.
When it comes to proper gears, the best scope for elk hunting should be on the top of your priority list. With one of these, it will be easier for you to acquire these preys.
Also, you will have the ability to track these fast pace preys properly.
Objective Lens: 50mm
Parallax: 50yds to infinity
Field of View(@100yds): 21-4.3ft
Eye Relief: 3.50"-4.25"
Objective Lens: 40mm
Parallax: 10yds to infinity
Field of View(@100yds): 24.7-8.4ft
Eye Relief: 3.9"
Objective Lens: 50mm
Parallax: 150yds Fixed
Eye Relief: 3.6"-4.4"
Windage: Finger Click
Benefits of a Quality Scope
There are some major benefits of having the best quality rifle scope on your firearm. And the most obvious ones are as follows:
No matter how good of a firearm you have, aiming with the iron sight will not get you that far when it comes to hunting.
Yes, the difficulties that you are going to face in close range will not be that noticeable, but if you want to land your shots properly on distant targets, there is really no option other than getting a scope.
So, if you want to shoot the preys that are within medium to long range, you should not really settle for anything other than the quality ones.
Can Withstand Rough Environmental Conditions
As we have mentioned above, the prey that you are going to hunt might not always be in a normal environment.
They might reside on rough terrains, which you might have to tread on. And in such conditions, the good quality ones shine the most.
These are going to offer you a good amount of flexibility options that will increase the chances of your shots landing on the exact point you want them to land.
Alongside that, these will offer you a bright and clear picture that will make it easier for you to acquire the targets.
10 Best Scope for Elk Hunting
Though there are plenty of options in the market, not all of them are really ideal for elk hunting.
For your convenience, we have gone ahead and picked the ones that are suitable for such kind of hunting.
And these are the ones that we believe are worth recommending among all of them.
#1. Burris Xtreme Tactical XTR II
Most of the hunters prefer the MOA reticle, while many are accustomed to the Mil one.
However, no matter which one you want, you will find a version of that for this unit that is being offered by Burris.
To start with, it features a design that is specifically for serious and technical shooters. Because of the design that it has, it is not only ideal for competitive shooting but also tactical too.
That means it will adapt perfectly fine with the hunting style that you have.
Aside from its design, the adjustment knobs that it boasts have a Zero Click mechanism. That mechanism will offer you that clicky feedback when you are adjusting the knob.
It will also make the process of returning back to the original yardage settings a quick and easy task. There will be no need to count clicks.
Other than that, it has advanced windage and elevation adjustment knobs. It will offer you the ability to set the reticle precisely, which will increase the amount of accuracy. And both the MOA and Mil reticle options are available.
Apart from that, the lens that it utilizes is high in quality. These high-grade lenses will make sure that the image that you are viewing is bright and clear.
And because of being high in quality, these are going to last for a long amount of time without showing any issues.
Alongside that, the lenses are properly fitted on the ends. The manufacturer has utilized high-quality gaskets, which ensures proper sealing.
As a result, water will not be able to find its way inside. Also, the inside is nitrogen purged to make sure that fog does not build up.
#2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II
One of the manufacturers that have been leading the charge in the scope market is Vortex. And they are showing off what they have to offer with this unit that they brought out in the market.
First of all, there are three different reticle options for this. Depending on the one you are most comfortable with, you are going to have the option to choose the V-plex, Dead-Hold BDC, and V-Brite one.
All of them have an adjustable objective lens, which will enable you to focus the image properly.
Alongside that, the adjustable objective lens will also make it easier for you to reduce the parallax that might occur when you are focusing on the image.
Also, both the lens have multiple layers of coatings on the surface. These coatings are going to ensure that there is no reflection or glaring when you are out in the sun.
Apart from that, the coatings are also going to make sure that the images are clear and bright. So you should be able to acquire the targets at a rapid pace.
The eye relief is reasonably long too. And the eye box is quite forgiving. These two will make it easier for you to get a sight of the target quickly.
Other than that, the eyepiece has a fast focusing mechanism. For that reason, focusing on the reticle properly will be a pretty easy task for you. Also, the reset turrets are capped, which will allow you to adjust them without needing any separate tools.
Lastly, the turrets have MOA clicks. Because of having such turrets, zeroing it in after you get a proper sight of the elk will be an effortless task for you.
If you are a 338 Lapua Magnum owner, this is the best pick for you.
#3. Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm
As we have mentioned earlier, elks tend to tread in rough environments. And for keeping up with their pace, you would need to get something that can withstand such environments.
Well, this one from Leupold is one of them.
To begin with, it features a duplex reticle. This reticle is not that advanced when it comes to range finding, but it will perform exceptionally well for close to medium range prey.
Also, it is ideal for beginners that do not want any clutter on the scope that they are looking through.
Aside from the reticle that it has, the overall construction of the unit is quite solid. The materials that Leupold had sourced out are high in quality.
Because of such a construction, it achieves a high level of sturdiness and durability. As a result, it achieves a shockproof characteristic that is quite essential for rough terrains.
Alongside that, the gaskets seal the inside properly. For such a sealing, worrying about moisture and water getting inside is something that you would not have to do for this one.
Also, it has gas purged, which is going to make sure that fog does not build up inside for temperature change.
Other than that, the lenses are coated with DiamondCoat. This special coating enhances the light transmission of the lens.
As a result, the pictures that you will view through it will be bright and clear. Also, the coating makes it achieve a higher level of abrasion resistance.
Besides that, the adjustment knobs that it comes along are ¼ MOA clicks.
So, you should be able to repeatedly adjust the windage and the elevation point at ease. Also, the knobs are quite clicky as well.
#4. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40
Being one of the leading brands in the market, Vortex has an extensive lineup of products to offer to the market. And this one that we are going to describe is one of the well-performing ones that you should definitely check out.
To start with, it implements the ever-so-popular Dead-Hold BDC reticle. This reticle is not only ideal for close-range shooting but can hold exceptionally well on medium to long-range distances.
So, you will be able to shoot your shots with more confidence with this.
Aside from that, the lenses that it has have a multi-layer coating on them. Those coatings are going to make sure that the glaring and reflection amount is considerably low.
As a result, the images that you will view through it will be clear and bright. Also, the fast-focusing eyepiece will make focusing the reticle easy.
Other than that, it integrates metal on metal precision turrets. They are exceptionally accurate and are reasonably clicky.
For that reason, you should be able to zero the reset pretty quickly after properly sighting your target. And as it has a precision glide erector mechanism, repeated tracking will be accurate.
The unit features a one-tube construction. Such type of construction eliminates the rattling that occurs on the units that use two or three-piece construction. So, stealth is something that you will have at a maximum amount with this.
Alongside that, the unit’s build quality is pretty praiseworthy, thanks to the high-quality materials that it utilizes. It is not only durable but exceptionally resistant to shocks.
The O-rings are pretty thick too. Those will make sure that the seal is proper and no moisture or water finds its way inside.
#5. Sniper MT4-16X50AOL
The environment that you might tread on when tracking an elk you want to shoot might not have that much light.
Well, in such cases, an illuminated scope such as this one is the one that would be ideal.
First of all, the reticle is illuminated. You will have the full freedom to adjust the brightness by considering the amount of light that you have around you. And you can adjust both the green and the red lines, which will increase the visibility.
Aside from that, the reticle is Mil-Dot. This reticle is one of the ones that are not that advanced and not that basic either.
So, it would be ideal for the ones that want distance measurements but do not want that much clutter on the lens. Also, the lenses have a proper coating on them to prevent glaring and reflection issues.
The package comes with a mount and a sunshade cover. There will be no need for you to go out in the market and purchase one separately because of including the mount.
Also, the sunshade that it includes will increase the overall visibility when you are under direct sunlight.
Apart from that, the turrets feature a QTA mechanism. They have ¼ inches of MOA clicks, which are exceptionally precise. And the clicks are quite responsive too. So adjusting the elevation and the windage for this one will be a piece of cake for you.
Alongside that, the body is properly sealed using tight O-rings. As a result, water and moisture will not be able to find their way inside.
Also, the nitrogen purging that it has will ensure that the inside does not get foggy because of temperature changes.
#6. Simmons Truplex .22 Mag
If you are one of those hunters who think that the scopes in the market are bland and do not have an elegant design, you should definitely take a look at what Simmons has to offer here under $100.
To start with, it is available in two different color options. One of them is shiny silver, which looks like a piece of art. And the other one is a matte black that looks sleek and tactical.
You will be able to make your rifle stand out among all of the other ones that are in your safe by installing any of this.
Other than the outlooks, both of them feature a rugged construction. The tube is one piece and is constructed of high-quality material.
For such a construction, it should be able to withstand harsh and tough weather conditions at ease.
Aside from the construction materials, the lenses of this unit are of high quality as well. They are fully coated, which makes them offer a bright and clear image.
Also, the coating reduces the amount of glaring and reflection, making it easier for you to acquire targets.
Apart from that, Simmons has utilized high-quality thick rubbers to seal the unit. As a result, there will be no place for the water and the moisture to get inside.
Also, as there is a gas purging, fogs would be able to build-up inside either.
Other than that, the knobs on the top and on the side have a SureGrip rubber coating. It will offer you a good amount of grip, even when you are wearing gloves.
As a result, you will not face any issues while trying to adjust the windage and the elevation settings.
#7. Athlon Optics Talos 4-16×40
Another manufacturer that has been dominating the scope market with their reliable and high-performing units is Athlon.
And this one that we are going to talk about is not an exception in both of the factors.
First of all, it offers two different options for the reticle. Depending on the one you are familiar and comfortable with, you can choose the BDC 600 IR or the Mil-Dot one.
The Mil-dot will be ideal if you are fairly new scopes. It has less amount of clutter on the reticle.
Aside from offering options for the reticle, the lens that Athlon utilizes is high in quality. They have multiple layers of coating on the surface.
These coatings make sure that the light transmission is efficient, which will eventually provide you a bright and clear picture.
Other than that, the lenses can show sharp and vivid images too. The colors it can capture are vivid. And as the reticle is etched into the glass, you will not have to worry about it fading over time.
Also, the tube is of aircraft-grade aluminum. That material makes it not only lightweight but also highly durable as well.
Apart from that, the inside has nitrogen purging. This purging will reduce the chances of fog appearing on the inside.
So, even if you do tread on terrains with varying temperatures, the inside will not get blurry. And the lenses are sealed properly as well. That means water and moisture will not find their way inside.
Besides that, the knobs that are on the sides and the top have a clicky response.
Because of that, there will be no need to guess whether the adjustments that you made were registered or not.
#8. Sniper MK4-16X50
Among all of the reticles, the ones that are etched right into the lens are the ones that last for a long amount of time without fading. Well, you will find that in this unit that is being offered by Sniper.
To start with, it has an illuminated reticle. You will have the option to play with the brightness.
It will let you set the brightness of both the blue and the green lines. And as it is etched right into the glass, you will not have to worry about it fading off either.
Also, as the reticle is illuminated and has different brightness levels, you can acquire targets in low-light environments. It would not be a hassle for you to track targets in the dusk too.
Because the lens has multiple layers of coating, the amount of glaring and reflection will be reasonably low under direct sunlight.
Aside from that, the package includes a couple of extra goodies. You will find lens covers that you can install.
These flip-up covers are going to make it easier for you to track targets under direct sunlight. Also, there will be batteries for the illumination and mounting rings.
Other than the goodies it bundles with, the knobs that this one boasts have a QTA mechanism.
This mechanism will make the process of adjusting the turrets an easy and quick process. And as the knobs are ¼ inches MOA clicks, you will get clicky feedback with each of the turns.
Lastly, the nitrogen purging inside the unit will ensure that fogs do not build up inside.
The O-rings of the lens do a great job keeping the moisture and water away from the inside.
#9. Sniper ZT 5-25×50 FFP
While looking for a decent scope for hunting elks, you might want to get something that utilizes a first focal plane design. Well, in that case, you should put this one on your consideration list.
Let us talk about the magnification of the unit. The lens that it packs can zoom from 5x to 25x. With such a magnification range, you will not have any trouble in acquiring the targets from medium to long-range in the distance.
Also, the eye relief is pretty generous. It is adjustable too. You can set it at 3.7 or 3.8 inches.
Other than that, the reticle of the unit is etched directly onto the glass. That means even if you use it for a prolonged amount of time, you will not notice it fading away, nor will it get blurry over time.
The reticle is illuminated, and you can illuminate it in both red and green. There are several brightness levels as well.
Besides that, the turrets are capped, which will ensure that they do not get stiff over time because of dirt and debris accumulating on it. Also, the knobs are ¼ MOA clicks.
So, there will be a clicky response after each of the turns. The clickier responses will assure you that the adjustments are registered.
Alongside that, the build quality of the unit is quite praiseworthy. The overall construction is of sturdy materials, making it highly resistant to shocks.
Also, the sealing on the lens is proper, which will make sure that moisture and water do not get inside.
Apart from that, it has gas purged inside. This purging will lower the possibility of fog occurring inside.
So, you can tread in different environments without any worries.
#10. EZshoot SFP 1-6X24E
Illuminated reticles are one of the things that most of the units are catching up on.
However, not all of them will offer you the ability to change the color of the reticle. Well, this one from EZshoot is offering that.
First of all, the magnification range of the unit is 1x to 6x. This range makes it ideal for acquiring targets that are within the close and medium range.
You can even maneuver to acquire the long-range prey using it. Such a range makes this unit exceptionally versatile.
Aside from the versatility, the manufacturer did not skimp one bit on the overall construction.
The materials utilized for the unit are all high-grade, enhancing the overall durability and sturdiness. Also, the exterior has a matte black finish, which makes it look quite sleek and elegant.
Other than that, the lenses have multiple layers of coating on the surface. The coatings are there to eliminate the chances of glaring and reflection.
Also, the coating enhances the overall ability of light transmission. As a result, the pictures you are going to see through it will be bright and clear.
Apart from that, the unit is shut tight using thick rubber gaskets. Those make sure that the sealing is proper and there is no gap from which water and moisture can get inside.
Also, the gas purging that it has will ensure that the inside does not fog up when you are traveling through environments with different temperatures.
Besides that, it has a glass-etched reticle. For being etched directly onto the glass, the chances of it fading will be considerably low.
There are two different illumination modes. One is green, and the other one is red. Both of them have adjustable brightness mechanisms.
Before You Buy What To Look For
There are a couple of factors that you need to be wary of before making a purchase decision.
By factoring them in, the chances of you getting something that is actually good instead of getting something mediocre will be considerably low.
That being said, the factors that we are referring to here are as follows:
The magnification is something that will depend entirely on your shooting style. If you are a type of hunter that usually shoots the preys that are between 100-200 yards, you should be okay with something that can offer 3x to 6x zoom.
On the other hand, if you want to opt for something that is suitable for long-range, you need to shoot for the ones that offer at least 6x to 9x magnification.
If these numbers seem too complicated for you, you can factor in the general 3x rule for magnification, which is to increase 3x zoom for every 100 yards.
Apart from the magnification, you should consider the quality of the lenses that are in the unit. For this, the first thing that you need to consider is the efficiency of light transmission.
The higher this efficiency is going to be, the better the clarity and the sharpness of the image will be.
Aside from that, you need to factor in whether the lenses have any coating on them or not. Without any coating, there is going to be too much amount of glaring and reflection.
And with glaring and reflections, it will get quite tough for you to acquire targets, which you would not want.
Aside from the quality of the lenses, you should consider the overall build quality of the unit.
The unit will achieve a high build quality if the materials that are utilized for the construction are high in quality. Also, the ones that are constructed with high-quality materials tend to be durable and sturdy as well.
Alongside that, the durable ones are more shockproof too.
Considering all of these, you need to opt for the ones that are of durable and sturdy materials.
Another thing that you need to consider is the sealing of the lens. Make sure that the one that you get utilizes thick and durable rubber gaskets to seal the inside.
The better the seal, the less the chances of water and moisture getting in. And if water and moisture do get inside, the images that you are going to see will be blurry.
That would make it quite tough for you to acquire and track targets properly.
There are many types of reticles that the brands are going to utilize for their unit. And it will boil down to personal preference for the types.
However, we would recommend opting for the glass-etched ones. Those will not fade over time.
Last but not least, you will have to factor in whether the inside has gas purged or not. If there is no purging, fogs will build up inside.
If the fog does build up inside, it will get quite tricky for you to acquire the elks through the lens.
For that reason, you need to opt for the ones that have gas purged inside.
What Size and Type of Scope Do I Need for Elk Hunting?
If you consider the types, There are mainly four types out there. And they are as follows:
Just like the name suggests, the magnification of the fixed units will be fixed. As in, if the model suggests 4x, the magnification will be fixed at 4x.
You will be able to lower it or increase it. These are usually recommended for the shooters that stick to shooting from one distance and do not want to fiddle with the magnification.
These are the exact opposite of the fixed ones. Instead of having a fixed magnification, these will have a variable magnification rate.
You will be able to adjust it according to the distance that your prey is on. These are ideal for the shooters that like a bit of versatility and often hunt at different ranges.
SFP is the short form of the Second Focal Plane. The scopes that utilize this design will have the reticle on the rear lens.
For being in that location, the reticle will not change its size when you change the magnification.
If precision is the thing that you emphasize the most, you should opt for these.
The units that are stated as FFP will have the reticle on the First Focal Plane.
For these, the reticle will shrink and expand according to the magnification that you have tuned in.
Although these are reasonably accurate, the accuracy when you are shooting at long-range will not be as high as SFP ones.
And when the topic of size comes up for scopes, they are mostly compared with one another. Well, the ones that are mostly compared are as stated:
1 Inch vs 30 mm Scope
Most of the higher-end scopes usually have a 30mm lens. And usually, these offer more adjustment options than the other ones.
So, these are generally for the advanced and more experienced shooters.
On the other hand, the ones that are for beginners will have 1inch lenses. And even though the number of adjustments is not that much, the ones that are available are good enough.
For that reason, if you are just getting into hunting and want something that offers basic and simple adjustments, you should opt for this one.
50 mm vs 40 mm Scope
30 to 40 mm scopes are considered to be ideal for shooting longer ranges in daylight.
On the other hand, because of being a bit bigger in size, the 50 mm ones are going to offer you a good performance in environments with a reasonably low amount of light.
1.8 inches vs 1.6 inches
If you are on a tight budget, the 1.6 inches ones are the units that you would want to shoot for. They are cheaper than the 1.8 inches.
On the other hand, the 1.8 inches units are lighter and are capable of producing brighter images. These are also good for shooting targets at 400 to 450 yards.
What should be the magnification range for hunting elks?
You would want to opt for the scopes that have a high magnification range for hunting elks as you would not want to get too near to them.
Considering that, you should opt for the ones that are anywhere between 3x to 30x.
Is a 4×32 scope good for hunting?
If you do not want want to buy too many scopes for the rifles you have in your arsenal, the 4×32 should be a good pick.
It will be compatible with most of the rifles.
What should be the magnification be for shooting at 400 yards?
By factoring in the 3x rule, it can be stated that for shooting at 400 yards, you would need something that can offer at least 9x zoom.
Are all the scopes fog proof?
It will depend on whether it has any gas purged inside or not. If it does not have any sort of gas purged inside, fogs are going to build up inside.
Can water and moisture get inside the scope?
Yes, water and moisture can accumulate inside. That is why having good sealing is important. And the ones that utilize thick and durable rubber gaskets are the ones that have good sealing.
Now that you have gone through the entire article, hopefully, choosing the best scope for elk hunting is an easy task for you.
We would like to assure you that no matter which one you pick from our recommendation list, it will offer you good performance and will make it easier for you to land shots on target.