Hunting or going down to the range to shoot some targets can both be very fun hobbies. However, the large amounts of necessary equipment (as well as gear acquisition syndrome) can quickly make them very expensive hobbies as well. In this article, I am going to show you some of the best long-range rifle scopes under $300. Of course, these are not the best long-range scopes currently available: but they offer you unparalleled performance at their price-point — some of them can even compete with the more expensive scopes.
Long-range rifle scopes are usually expensive. But what if I told you that quality does not always come with a price? It is possible to get very capable long-range rifle scopes without making some serious damage to your wallet.
Ready to never miss a target? Time to work.
Review of Best Long-Range Rifle Scopes Under $300
Vortex Crossfire II
The Vortexhttps://vortexoptics.com/ Crossfire II is a budget rifle scope that gets the job done. Let’s face it, we both know you can’t have the best long-range rifle scope in the market for under $300, but there’s no reason why you can’t have a good, cost-efficient rifle scope — and that is exactly what the Vortex Crossfire II is.
The build quality of this scope is nothing to write home about. It’s sturdy, but not exactly something you would consider rugged. It can survive being thrown around just fine, but you are not getting top-shelf craftsmanship.
What you are also not getting is an FFP scopehttps://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Mag-Patrol-Scopes-AR_0114-508_0.pdf. The Crossfire II is an SFP scope — the reticle will remain the same size as you change the magnification. The reticle itself is good — it has a classic design and works great at every level of magnification.
But at this price point, you are not getting an illuminated reticle. There’s a model with an illuminated reticle available as well, but it will cost you a bit more.
The optical quality of this scope is average at best. At lower magnification levels the image is clear — clear enough, at least. However, as you increase magnification levels, the image gets progressively blurrier and harder to see. You will have a hard time trying to see your shots.
This can be worked around by adjusting the objective until you get a clearer image — but still, the image will always remain lackluster.
For the price, the Crossfire II offers you lots of ways to adjust your shots. There is an elevation adjustment knob, a windage adjustment knob, a focusing knob, and an objective adjustment knob.
It’s not the best scope in the world, but, for the price, the Crossfire II is easy to recommend.
Are scope mounts included in the package?
Sadly, mounts do not come included with the package. You will need to purchase height rings separately.
What height rings should you use, medium or high?
Ideally, you want the scope to be as close to the rifle body as possible. That being said, the front of the scope has to be tall enough as to clear the rifle.
There is no predetermined set of height rings you should use — you should use ones that fit both your rifle and your scope. For most rifles, medium rings alone can be too small to clear the rifle — unless you have a rail or some other type of way to increase the scope height. So, the answer is it will depend. High height rings will work more often than not, but, depending on the rifle, medium rings can work as well.
Does this scope come with a sunshade?
Yes. This scope comes with a 4 inches long sunshade.
Does this scope have illuminated radicals?
No. While this scope is available in a model with illuminated radicals, this particular model does not have any type of illumination.
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The VX-Freedom line is a popular budget line from Leupold. These scopes are affordable and good at what really matters in a scope — accuracy and visibility.
This scope line has a 3:1 zoom ratio and offers excellent visibility throughout the entire magnification range. While its glass isn’t exactly award-winning, Leupoldhttps://www.leupold.com/ offers its “Twilight Light Management” technology even in its budget range.
This technology increases twilight visibility for up to 10 minutes, ensuring you get those extra crucial shots on your target even when the sun begins to set. Leupold also offers its popular optical treatment in the VX-Freedom line — thanks to the special coating, the glass is fog and waterproof and there is little to none optical aberrations.
As expected, you are getting an SFP reticle — which is great at every level of magnification. The reticle model is the Rimfire-MOA, which offers a sleek and minimalistic approach to the classic Duplex reticle. If you are not a fan of this reticle type, the VX-Freedom line also offers several other reticle types.
Of course, the reticle does not have any type of illumination — this is a budget scope after all. Still, thanks to the Twilight Light Management system and the special coating on the glass, visibility is great, assuming there is enough light.
Unfortunately, this scope does not have many adjustment knobs. There is no parallax adjustment turret — parallax is set to 60 yards, which while great for rimfire cartridges, might not be ideal for every situation.
There is no wind adjustment turret either, and you won’t find a return to zero function on this scope either. While this is a drawback, it might be unnoticeable under the right conditions — if you are sure that this is the scope for you (rimfire, 60-yard parallax), then you will not be disappointed.
For the price, you are getting a great budget scope, entirely made in the USA. What’s not to love?
Can you use this scope with an air rifle?
As long as you can mount this scope on the air rifle, you can use it. However, you should be advised that the parallax correction might be a bit too steep for an air rifle.
As this scope does not have a parallax adjustment knob, it might be difficult to use it with an air rifle. If you are looking for an air rifle scope, you should get one with adjustable parallax.
Does this scope come with lens caps?
No. Unfortunately, the Leupold VX-Freedom does not come with lens caps. You can buy them separately, though — sizes: 13 for the eyepiece and 15 for the objective.
How do you reset to zero after sighting in?
You cannot reset to zero after sighting in with the Leupold VX-Freedom. The turrets on the VX-Freedom do not have the ability of returning to zero.
Are the radicals of the Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire illuminated?
No. Although there are illuminated versions available, this specific model does not have illuminated radicals.
Read More: Types of Scopes.
Mueller Optics Tactical 8-32
The Mueller Opticshttps://muelleroptics.com/ Tactical 8-32 is an average option that, while not entirely disappointing, leaves a few things to be desired.
First, let’s get to the good stuff: this scope has great glass. It’s always surprising to find budget scopes with good glass, but they do exist — and this scope is the proof.
The glass is crystal clear in situations where there is enough light. In overcast and foggy weather it is not as good, but it still beats most of its competition at this price point. Focusing is clear and smooth, and you will hardly complain about the visibility at any of the magnification levels.
The turrets are also very crisp. There might be the occasional mushiness, but, overall, they are also better than most of the turrets on the sub-$300 scopes. You can adjust parallax, MOA, and account for the wind.
But this is still a sub-$300 scope and there are a few (some of them major) drawbacks.
Field of view at high magnification levels is minimal at best. There is also a very small eye relief distance — this scope is not comfortable for prolonged uses. However, all of this can be worked around. What is really troublesome is the Mueller Optics Tactical ability to hold zero.
Personally, I cannot complain. This scope held zero just fine — but I also didn’t use it for very long. There are reports from users that, after a few trips to the range, this scope is unable to hold zero. Parallax might also be incorrect.
While I am thoroughly satisfied with this scope, you have to make a budget-conscious choice: are you willing to cheap out on your scope while knowing of the risk that it might lose its ability to hold zero somewhere down the line?
Is this an USA-made scope?
No. Manufacturing is done in China; however, its quality is pretty good.
Does the Mueller Optics Tactical come with a sunshade or do you have to buy it separately?
Although this is a budget scope, the Mueller Optics Tactical does come with a 3” sunshade and you do not need to buy it separately.
What scope rings should you use with this scope?
The Mueller Optics Tactical uses 30MM scope rings.
Read Next: 30mm Scope Rings.
Primary Arms SLX ACSS Orion
The Primary Arms SLX ACSS Orion is yet another great choice for the budget-conscious enthusiast that wants to get the best bang for its buck (pun sort of intended). While there probably are better choices out there, the SLX ACSS Orion is still a very respectable purchase and one that will probably not leave you disappointed — assuming you know what you are buying.
This is a very durable scope — even though it might not look like it. It can take quite a beating and still perform just fine. It holds zero after you use it and even after you drop it — so if you are a clumsy shooter (there is no shame in that) then this is a good optic for you.
The glass is clear enough — sadly, it doesn’t let in large amounts of light. If you are looking for a scope that will excel in those early hours or at dusk, then there are other, more indicated, buys out there.
However, objects get distorted the closer they are. Sure, you are probably not using a long-range rifle scope to shoot close objects, but it is still good to know.
But what’s really good about this scope is the fact that, for the price, you are getting an FFP scope. As you have probably noticed, it is relatively hard to find FFP scopes in the sub-$300 range. The FFP reticle will change its size depending on your magnification level, allowing for extra accuracy and faster target acquisition.
Speaking about the reticle, the reticle on the SLX ACSS Orion is truly great. Precision and speed is the name of the game with this design, and you will acquire your targets with relative ease. Unfortunately, the reticle on this version of the optic doesn’t come illuminated. However, if you’re willing to drop a few extra dollars, then a similar model is available that comes with an illuminated reticle. Money can’t buy you happiness, but it sure can buy you nicer things.
This durable scope comes with a set of lens covers included — which you should know aren’t as durable as the scope. The lens covers are flimsy and will break if you look at them wrong, so you probably will want to invest on a more rugged set of lens covers.
The Primary Arms SLX ACSS Orion is one of the best long-range rifle scopes for under $300. It is a versatile scope with very few drawbacks. At this price point, the SLX ACSS Orion easily competes with the more expensive scopes — even though it might not have all the technology and fancy buttons.
Is a sunshade included with the Primary Arms SLX ACSS Orion?
No. This scope only comes with the lens covers. You will need to buy a sunshade separately. Primary Arms sells compatible sunshades.
Are the scope rings included?
No. The 30mm scope rings are not included and will need to be bought separately.
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The Monstrum G3 is also a strong contender for the best long-range rifle scope under 300 dollars. At this price point, you get a very durable scope with a first focal plane reticle, illuminated radicals and a highly adjustable objective.
Yes, they are rare, but the Primary Arms SLX ACSS Orion is not the only FFP scope in the under-300 dollars section. The Monstrum G3 also offers plenty of value for its budget price.
The FFP reticle uses a “type-H” design, which allows for quicker and more accurate range estimation. Seeing this reticle is easy, but, if you’re having trouble with it, you can always light it up — the Monstrum G3 reticle is illuminated and easy to see in dark conditions.
The glass on the Monstrum G3 is good. It is not the best glass you will find on a scope, but at this price point, it is very acceptable. The glass is coated to reduce glare and prevent scratches on the lens — which adds to the durability of the scope.
The Monstrum G3 has a sturdy body and solid brass internals, and it isn’t exactly a light scope (it weighs 14 ounces). The brass internals makes operating the turrets a very smooth and crisp experience — there’s hardly any mush at all.
The turrets are also some of the best at this price point — there is a turret lock and a return to zero function in this scope. There also is a ¼ MOA, and elevation and wind adjustment turrets.
This scope comes with the scope rings and the lens covers included. But, while the scope rings are good, the lens covers are flimsy and break easily.
It is an easy to recommend scope. There are no major drawbacks and it holds up quite nicely to more expensive scopes — so, if you are in the market for the best long-range rifle scope under $300, be sure to consider the Monstrum G3.
Does this scope come with a sunshade?
No. It comes with lens covers and mounting rings, but no sunshade. You will need to buy it separately.
Can you shoot .338 rounds with this scope?
Yes. This scope is rated to work with rounds up to .50 cal.
What size are the included mounting rings?
The included mounting rings are the same size as the tube: 30 mm.
What’s the difference from the G3 and the previous generations?
G2 was a general upgrade over the G1, mainly focusing on improved optics. G3 changed the internals from aluminum to brass, as well as the button that controls the reticle illumination.
Best Long-Range Rifle Scope Under $300 Buyer’s Guide
How to adjust your scope for long-range shooting
If you want to shoot far-away targets, you need to have your scope set up for long-range shooting. The further you’re trying to hit your target, the more significant small errors become — it is important to have an accurate scope if you’re trying to hit your target.
Remember that a slight offset on your zero at a short distance will become a rather noticeable offset further down the range.
To adjust your scope for long-range shooting, you’ll first want to make sure that it is correctly mounted on your rifle. The scope should be level with the rifle and the crosshair should be aligned with the vertical center of your gun.
Zero in the scope for long-range shooting once it is mounted correctly.
Most people zero their scope by trial and error. They shoot one round, look at the target and rotate the turret in a certain direction. While this method can work, it can also be tiresome — it can take you more than 20 rounds before you correctly zero your scope.
If you don’t want to use the trial-and-error method, you can use math to zero your scope without wasting ammo. More often than not, turrets have everything you need to adjust your scope written on them. Have you ever wondered what the ¼ MOA means on your turret? It means that, at 100 yards, each click of the turret will move the bullet impact ¼ inch.
Of course, this is all relative to 100 yards. So, if you’re going for zero at 200 yards you should double the measurements. Cut it in half for 50 yards, and so on, so forth.
Zero in your weapon with this information as it will save you a bunch of time.
As you can see, it is possible to never miss a long-range shot without having to break the bank.
These are some of the best long-range rifle scopes currently available for under $300 — and they make a serious case for doubting the old quality comes at a price idiom.
Who would have thought that it is possible to have a FFP scope for under 300 dollars? Both the Primary Arms SLX ACSS Orion and the Monstrum G3 offer you excellent reticles. The Monstrum G3 even lights up — something you rarely see at this price point.
Scopes like the Leupold VX-Freedom allow you to shoot even during those dusky twilight hours, when light starts becoming sparse and are very resistant, even in the direst situations.
Obviously, you should not expect the best scope in the market at this price point. But, for under 300 dollars, you can still get some very capable scopes that will surely not disappoint you.
Which long-range scope do you prefer?