Scope Review: Top 5 Rifle Scopes Under $500 In 2020-21

Best Rifle Scopes Under $500 Budget

Are you looking for a rifle scope under $500? Well, it seems a little expensive, but it is a good start. One should always be clear about his budget. Any rifle scope under $500 can easily satisfy most hunters and professional shooters. In this range, the scope you get is very different from the $200 rifle scope. These are far better in terms of quality, brightness, and clear light.

Since you all want to know about the top 5 rifle scope under $500, here are our top picks. Have a detailed look at each one.

Nikon Monarch 3 BDC 4-16x42mm – Best Riflescope

At no. 1 spot we have Nikon Monarch 3 BDC 4-16x42mm. The specification of this riflescope has really impressed a lot of people. It has 3-9x magnification, the objective lens is 40mm, tube diameter is 1 inch, windage/elevation is1/4 MOA, and the total length is 12.6 inches. This Nikon Monarch was designed to compete with Minox ZA5 and Zeiss Conquests scope lines. It gets zeroed very quickly. The clarity and brightness are best and continues till the edge. There is no blur patches or any kind of fogginess.

Nikon Monarch 3 BDC 4-16x42mm

It is basically a medium-range rifle scope, but it can be used for long ranges as well. That makes it versatile even more. The Nikon Monarch comes with flip-up covers, which is another cool value-added feature in it. They are of cheap quality as compared to the rest of the premium quality, but they are free so no complaints here. You are not going to buy covers for your rifle scope anyway.

It is lightweight as compared to many other scopes but not too lightweight. Considering a lightweight scope under $500 with 15x magnification power is pretty rare. So, 1.25 pounds weight is considered when you are walking a mile to track a deer.

The Monarch line is located on the high end of Nikon’s optics, Prostaff is placed at the mid-level and the Buckmasters is placed at the low end.

  • Nikon Monarch comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Side focus is as good as the mid focus.
  • Positive clicks for all adjustments.
  • Very clear glass and clarity.
  • Comfortable and good quality to shoot with.
  • The scope cover could have been better.


Vortex Optics Viper HS 4-16×44 V-Plex MOA – Runner up rifle Scope

Vortex Optics Viper HS 4-16×44 V-Plex MOA scope is definitely a great choice. It is one of the best you can get for your money. It has been among the top picks when it comes to buying a functional yet durable scope for a rifle.

This is a great choice for hunting mid- to long-distances. The scope comes with a 4x magnification that ranges from 4x to 16x. This is an impeccably sufficient adjustment to shoot out to many hundreds of yards. The objective diameter is 44mm that allows sufficient light transmission. It is necessary if you go to higher magnification levels for shooting.

Vortex Optics Viper HS

This is designed for long-range rifles, so it will not play well if you want to go shooting and hunting across short distances. If you try it on short distances, you will have a hard time focus properly your target. The field of view at 100 yards is a solid 27.4 feet in this model of Vortex.

The quality of the extra-low dispersion glass of Viper HS 4-16x44mm really stands out. The Extra-low dispersion glass is known as XD glass in Vortex. The tube is large 30 mm. It allows a lot of light to go through which ultimately offers clarity especially when light is needed. It will also allow you to shoot earlier rather than later.

When it comes to lenses, all lenses are multi-coated to reduce glare and reflections and allow for a clear image. The Vortex reticle is located on the second focal plane and from that point, it works fine for short-range hunting. As for long-range hunting, the first focal plane reticle would be ideal. Windage and Elevation can be adjusted up to 50 MOA with 0.25 MOA per click.

  • It is waterproof and fog-proof
  • It is designed to withstand shock.
  • Great quality in $500.
  • It’s too Heavy.


Athlon Optics Helos BTR 6-24 x 50 First Focal Plane – Low Light Rifle

Athlon Optics is not a household name such as Leupold or Vortex but some of their products are great. The Athlon Optics Helos BTR series of scopes offer high-quality with illuminated first focal plane reticle and outstanding glass clarity. All of these things make them an obvious choice for the best rifle scope under $500 for low-lighting conditions.

Athlon Optics Helos BTR

The reticle in this scope is placed on the first focal plane that makes this setup great for long-distance shots. In long-distance shooting, the holdover points stay with the scope image by using the first focal plane reticle. The large 50mm objective front lens provides a lot of space to let light get into the tube when lighting conditions are bad.

The scope offers a 4x zoom and magnification range from 6x to 24x. This scope also uses in the Rimfire Scope, This duo is a great match for longer-distance shootings. The lower end level will make things difficult if the target is in shot sight.

The glass is multi-coated which makes it glare-free. It improves the sharpness of the image and optimizes light transmission. The scope tube measures 30 mm in diameter, and it is made from a single piece of aircraft-grade aluminum. Additionally, to ensure fog and waterproof-ness the tube is argon purged and sealed.

The elevation and windage turrets in this scope get locked. Normally you have to pull them up to dial the correct values and then push them down to lock them in place. Both elevation and windage can be adjusted by 18 mils (60 MOA) with a 6 mil adjustment range per rotation.

  • Fog and waterproof.
  • Ideal for long-range shooting.
  • Made of aircraft-grade aluminum.
  • The company is not renowned.


Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x50mm – Overall Best Image Rifle Scope

The Leupold VX-3i series of scopes is a slightly improved version over the original VX-3 series of Leupold. The best feature in this series has to be the 3.5-10x50mm optics. The company has worked hard to offer a better Twilight Max Light Management System. The Twilight Max Light Management system is always there for optimized light transmission. In combination with the extra-low dispersion glass and fully multi-coated lenses, you can have a superb target image all thanks to the Twilight Max Light Management system.

Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x50mm

The 1-inch tube is made from aircraft-grade aluminum. The reticle on the VX-3i is a Duplex reticle and it is a second focal plane scope. The eye relief ranges between 3.6 inches and 4.5 inches. It has a 50 mm objective lens and ultra-clear glass. The ultra-clear glass provides a very clear image with bright colors. The magnification range is lower than the other scopes in this one. However, the 3.5x magnification in Leupold VX-3i is a pretty versatile scope as it works better at shorter ranges compared to other 4.5x versions.

The 10x maximum magnification in this makes it good long-range scope. It is a good quality rifle scope for most hunting situations. It is more efficient with magnification when you intend to shoot actual prey rather than shooting targets.

This rifle scope makes up for its missing highest-end magnification with excellent optics and views you get by using it.

It is among the best rifle scope under $500, so it is affordable for many hunters and professional shooters. You will get a versatile hunting experience with this one.

  • Improved quality.
  • Twilight max light. management system
  • High magnification.
  • Ultra-clear glass.
  • Missing high-end magnification.
  • Good for short-range only.


Nikon M-Tactical .308 Rifle Scope 30mm Tube 4-16x 42mm Side Focus BDC 800 Reticle Matte – Effective rifle scope

The M-TACTICAL rifle scope notches the teeth of other rifle scopes through a profound mix of optical design, superior glass, innovative materials, and 100 years of Nikon optical ingenuity. All of these features make its performance exemplary.

Nikon M-Tactical .308 Rifle

The exclusive glass and multi-coating technology used in these optics give a bright, high contrast sight image. These images are sharpened and enhanced through purpose-driven reticles designed for long-range shootings. All long-range M-TACTICAL Nikon models feature side-focus parallax adjustments, while the full range models of Nikon features directional indicators on turrets, 4x zoom range and utilize robust 30mm main body tubes drawn from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. Turrets and zoom rings are designed for comfortable function with virtually any finger size in this scope.

Each M-TACTICAL riflescope is finished with ultra-matte anodizing. This allows the riflescope to stay durable for a lifetime and reliable under all conditions.


All 5 of these rifle scopes are great for long-range hunting. All are good options, so it is confusing to choose one. But we recommend people to go for Nikon Monarch. The users of this rifle scope swear by its quality and durability. Everything is perfect in it. However, you can choose other options as well. Stay safe and keep hunting with the best rifle scopes.

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