The .300 Winchester Short Magnum (or .300 WSM) is one of the many popular Winchester calibers. Introduced in 2001, this caliber has a performance similar to the .300 Winchester Magnum but can be used with lighter rifles and uses less gunpowder.
This type of round is generally used by hunters, as it is indicated for hunting large animals, such as moose, elk, and bears. It is also used to hunt smaller animals, such as deer, at large distances and across open fields due to its high travel velocity.
Being that this caliber is indicated for hunting, hunters generally need to pair the .300 WSM riflehttps://military.wikia.org/wiki/.300_Winchester_Short_Magnum with a scope. The large number of scopes available can make choosing the right scope a particularly daunting task. That is why, in this article, I am going to be reviewing some of the best scopes to use with .300 WSM-caliber rifles.
We are going to be looking at scopes at both ends of the price range, so you can decide if the extra features are worth the extra money or if you would prefer to go for the budget route. All of these scopes excel at long and medium ranges and can be used effectively to hunt large game or to relax with a benchrest competition.
That being said, let’s find out which scope is the best for .300 WSM calibers.
Best Scopes for 300 WSM Review
I am going to start this product review at the low end of the budget spectrum. The Vortex Crossfire II is a cheap scope and you shouldn’t expect for it to bring a lot to the table. However, given its price tag, it is still a very capable scope and one that will probably leave you satisfied — as long as you fully understand what you are getting into.
But before I rain on the Crossfire’s II parade, we have to give it credit where its due. While the Crossfire II does not feature top-shelf craftsmanship, it does have a nice, solid build. It is a robust instrument that can probably withstand a lot of damage. What I know for a fact is that the Crossfire II can handle the recoil of .300 WSM just fine.
The Crossfire II has a T6 aluminum body, which is the standard for most scopes. It is relatively well built, but it lacks some of the finer detail you would find on the more expensive scopes — which is obviously to be expected. Still, it is nothing short of amazing that for such a cheap price you are getting such a solid scope.
But while the Crossfire’s II build won’t actually surprise you with its quality, the same cannot be said for its glass. Reign in your expectations a bit and remember that this is not a premium scope — you shouldn’t and can’t possibly expect high-quality glass on such a budget, but it is still refreshingly surprising how much quality Vortex packs into such a cheap scope.
The image is clear, and the Crossfire II lets in plenty of light. At the shorter end of the magnification spectrum, the image is nothing short of perfect, and you could almost (but not quite) confuse it for a much pricier scope. However, once you start zooming in, its budget-price starts becoming apparent.
At high magnification levels, the Vortex Crossfire II becomes blurry and there are a few too many smudges, which might hinder your shots. Of course, one can learn to live with it and get used to its imperfections, and there is also a chance that I might’ve had a defective model, but I still wasn’t totally happy about what I saw.
The turrets are also slightly disappointing. They work fine, but they do not offer those satisfying clicks that you get on really good turrets. Instead, they are mushy, and you can barely feel the clicks. But at this price point I’ll gladly take that drawback if the rest of the scope holds up.
Parallax on the Crossfire II is fixed to a distance of 100 yards. This is okay for medium and long-range uses, but I still would prefer to set it myself. Again, this much is to be expected on such a low-priced scope, so I feel like my complaints are somewhat invalid.
In all honesty, the Vortex Crossfire II is far from being a great scope. It has its noticeable drawbacks, and you will probably be left wondering if you shouldn’t have invested a bit more and gotten a better scope. But not all people want to spend thousands of dollars on a scope, and they might not even be that demanding. If you are one of these people, then the Vortex Crossfire II will serve you well.
At the end of the day, this is still a highly durable and accurate scope, and one that is quite easy to recommend for .300 WSM considering its price. Just be sure to know its drawbacks before you make your purchase.
Is there any type of illumination on the Vortex Crossfire II?
No. If you are looking for a low-priced scope with an illuminated reticle, then something like the Athlon Argos BTR might be up your alley (it will still cost you more than the Crossfire II).
Illuminated reticles are almost seen as a luxury, and uncommon in budget scopes.
Is there an included sunshade?
While Vortex does include sunshades with some of its models, it does not include them in their budget lines. You will need to buy a sunshade separately.
What type of scope mounts are included?
Vortex does not include scope mounts with the Crossfire II. You will need to buy a scope mount separately. You might need to buy mounting rings as well — if that is the case, I recommend you buy medium-height rings, as they work great with the Vortex Crossfire IIhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vortex_Optics.
Still, you should probably check that the chosen rings will work with your scope + rifle combination.
Also Interesting: Low Light Scopes Under $500.
I understand that you might think that the NightForce SHV is too expensive for what it offers. There are no fancy technologies (some models don’t even have an illuminated reticle) and what you see is pretty much what you get — but that is not necessarily a bad thing.
You see, what truly matters in a scope is how accurate it is. And the NightForce SHV is extremely accurate. This scope feels great to use, and you will never remember that it lacks some of the frills that other scopes might have.
The build is exceptionally solid. Yes, the NightForce SHV is also made from a single block of T6 aircraft-grade aluminum, but there is attention to detail. This is a scope that feels nice both on your rifle and on your hand — there’s some heft to it and it definitely feels like a premium scope.
The glass is also superb. The quality of any environment through the glass of the NightForce SHV seems entirely lifelike, maybe even more so. The image is crisp, clear, and extremely bright — and this goes for the entire magnification range.
The turrets also feel great. There is no mush — but there is a return to zero function, which is appreciated. With a simple click you are back to your original zero, which can spare you from a lot of work.
The SFP reticle on this particular model is not illuminated, but it is possible to acquire it with illumination for a small fee. If that is worth it for you will depend on your preferences.
Ultimately, the NightForce SHV might not bring anything new or exciting to the table. Still, it excels at what it sets out to do. This is a simple scope built to the highest standard, and that alone is enough to justify its price, at least for me.
What is the length of the NightForce SHV?
This scope is 15.2 inches long.
Can you adjust the parallax?
Yes. Parallax is adjustable from 25 yards to infinity.
How many MOAs does this scope have per click?
Each click has ¼ MOA.
Read More: Long-Range Rifle Scopes Under $300.
At the far end of the spectrum, sits the Leupold VX-6HD. This is not a cheap scope — quite the opposite, in fact. It costs a pretty hefty price, but the truth is the Leupold VX-6HD is one of the best .300 WSM scopes out there, period.
Once you understand its features and its high-quality materials, you realize why this scope costs so much. It is also made from T6 aluminum, but the VX-6HD is built with extra attention to detail. The result is a beautiful scope that is also highly durable.
Leupold’s features high durability scopes across its entire line-up. The VX line (from the cheap little Freedom to the pricier 6HD) is built to withstand 5,000 Punisher impacts. Each impact from the proprietary Leupold machine simulates three times the recoil of a .308 rifle shot — so you know these scopes are built to last.
The VX-6HD is also capable of operating flawlessly in a temperature range that goes from -40ºF, all the way to 160ºF. It is also completely fog-proof and waterproof up to a depth of 33 feet.
The turrets are also very crisp, with excellent clicks. But Leupold goes a step further than giving us satisfying turrets — the turrets on the VX-6HD have a return to zero function and a zero-lock custom dial system. With the custom dial system we can choose our preferred caliber and rifle type, which allows us to zero our scope easily and without having to do any math.
Of course, all of those things can be very nice, but they are all relatively worthless if the glass is not up to par. As you would expect given its price, the glass on the Leupold VX-6HD is nothing short of impressive. The glass is clear, and the image is very nitid across the entire magnification levels. There are no discernible glass imperfections or any type of blurriness.
Again, Leupold isn’t happy with “just” excellent glass. The manufacturer developed a patented technology which increases low-light visibility up to a maximum of 10 extra minutes of light, which can be decisive during dusk.
The “Twilight Light Management System” is a standard across the entire VX line, but the VX-6HD gets something a bit more special, with the Twilight Max HD Light Management System. This improved version of the patented technology is something you have to see for yourself but believe me when I say that it makes a difference.
The classic duplex reticle is illuminated with a red light. It also features an electronic level, which allows you to access your stability. The reticle is easy to use and makes even the most difficult shots seem to be easy.
If this is not the best scope out there, it is unbelievably close. It is an extremely expensive scope, sure, but, once you use it, you understand why. If you have the money to spend, believe me that you are getting your money’s worth. If the budget is tight… well, plenty of cheap scopes allow you to hit your targets accurately — they just won’t feel as satisfying to use.
Is the Leupold VX-6HD SFP or FFP?
While most premium scopes tend to be FFP, the Leupold VX-6HD is SFP. This is not a cost-saving measure by Leupold — the manufacturer wants users to have the option of having a premium SFP scope if that’s their preferred type of reticle.
Read Next: 34mm Scope Rings.
Best Scopes for .300 WSM Buyer’s Guide
What is 300 WSM?
.300 WSM is a caliber type developed by Winchester in 2001https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=82834&inline. The letters “WSM” mean Winchester Short Magnum. As the name indicates this is a shorter and less powerful alternative to Winchester Magnum rounds.
Related Content: Tactical Scopes for AR-10 308 SHTF.
How to choose a scope for .300 WSM?
The right .300 WSM scope for you might not be the right scope for another person. These types of choices come down to personal preference and budget.
First you need to determine your needs. If you want to shoot .300 WSM rounds you are probably going to need a scope that can handle a beating, since those calibers pack quite the punch. But any additional extra features are going to be up to you: do you want an illuminated reticle, a return to zero function?
Remember that the more you add-on to your needs, the pricier your scope is going to be. That is why you also need to determine a budget that fits your needs. If you have the money to spend, then the choice is even easier — you can get a scope that does pretty much everything you want it to.
However, if your budget is a little tighter, then you are going to have to play favorites with the features you want your scope to have. This might be trickier than just going to a store and picking up the most expensive scope, but it is definitely doable.
Unfortunately, there is no right answer to the best .300 WSM scope. All of the scopes on this list are good, but they all have different drawbacks, such as the lack of features or the price. You will need to decide what you value the most and choose accordingly.
Check This Out: Types of Scopes.
Any of the scopes on this list will be great for .300 WSM rounds — some might just be better than the others. They come at different price points, and you will have to make the hard decision of whether the extra premium features are worth the big price tag or not.
If you want to keep expenses to a minimum, but still would like to have a very capable scope, then the Vortex Crossfire II is an easy recommendation. It is not the best scope in the world — not even close —, but for the price you are getting plenty of scope… just don’t expect any miracles.
The NightForce SHV is relatively more expensive than the Crossfire II, but it offers a way better performance. Is the price difference worth it? Only you can tell — for me, I think it is more than justifiable.
And if money is no objection, then the Leupold VX-6HD is one of the best .300 WSM scopes you can get. It is extremely well-built, and it has some of the best glass out there… but it comes with a price tag to match.
Which of these scopes do you prefer? Let us know in the comments.