The .338 Winchester Magnum is one of the most popular calibers when it comes to big game hunting. Its size and weight make it ideal for moose and elk hunting, but it is also used by hunters to defend themselves from dangerous animals, such as polar or grizzly bears. In this article, I am going to help you decide which is the best scope for the .338 win mag — for your use case, at least.
Since this caliber is preferred by big game hunters, it makes sense to pair .338 Winchester Magnum rifles with powerful scopes that take advantage of this type of cartridge. But, choosing the right scope can be a daunting task.
There are so many different brands, models, and types of scopes on the market. It is important to do your research before making a purchase to ensure you are getting the best scope for your money.
In this article, we will discuss what to look for when choosing a .338 Win Mag scope as well as some of our top picks.https://guns.fandom.com/wiki/.458_Winchester_Magnum
- Best Value For Your Money
- High Resolution Glass
- Highly Durable
- Great Adjustability
- Excellent Glass Quality
- Durable & Popular With Hunters
- Budget Friendly
- Easy To Sight In Scope
- Great For Beginners
Best Scope for .338 Win Mag Product Review
1) Vortex Viper HS-T
The Vortex Viper HS-T is cheaper than its big brother, the Viper PST Gen II, but this doesn’t mean that it’s a cheap scope. Still, it is one of the best scopes for .338 Win Mag rifles. For less than half the price of a Viper PST Gen II, you can get a scope that is just as capable and that only lacks a few of the fancier frills of the more expensive scope.
Depending on the chosen magnification level, the Vortex Viper HS-T can comfortably be used anywhere from medium to long ranges — assuming you can make the shots. The Viper HS-T is, unsurprisingly, made from T6 aircraft-grade aluminum and it is somewhat bulky. There is definitely some heft to it, but despite its weight this is a very resistant scope.
But it is not the build of the Vortex Viper HS-T that impresses me — what makes the Viper HS-T really worth its price is its optical quality. The glass is absolutely clear and worthy of a much higher priced scope. The HS-T uses low-dispersion glass, which gives it a higher-resolution than similarly priced scopes, as well as an increased color fidelity. In short, the image on the Vortex Viper HS-T is nothing short of excellent.
Obviously, such worthy glass should be protected — and Vortex knows it. The glass on the HS-T is coated with a protective layer that reduces scratches and imperfections caused by small debris. Regardless of the type of environment you hunt in, the glass of the Viper HS-T will always be pristine and as good as on the day you bought the scope.
Another small piece of heaven on the Vortex Viper HS-T are the turrets. The turrets are very similar to the ones on the more expensive Vortex Razor (which we will get to in a while), and the exact same as the ones on the Viper PST Gen II. These turrets are very crisp and pleasing to use, with true zero stop function and fiber glass-etched dials.
If you are wondering whether to get the HS-T or the PST Gen II and would like to know the differences, you will be happy to know that there aren’t that many. With the PST Gen II you are paying a premium for a few things such as illuminated radicals, lens size (the PST has bigger optical elements), and reticle type. The HS-T has 44mm glass instead of 50mm, it does not have illuminated radicals, and it uses MOA instead of MIL on the reticle. This one of the main reasons I also rated it as one of the best Long-Range Rifle Scopes Under $300 that I’ve used.
Whether those things are worth the extra price is up to you. They are undoubtedly excellent features, but they might not be worth paying a premium for your particular use case. You will need to do the math. If you end up sticking with the HS-T, you will be glad to know you are getting an excellent scope, just as good as the Vortex Viper PST, but for half the price.
Is there a sunshade included?
Yes. As usual with Vortex optics, the Vortex HS-T comes with a sunshade and lens caps.
Can you lock the turrets?
The Vortex HS-T does not have a turret lock function. However, you do not need one — the HS-T has true zero-stop functionality, which means you will always be able to return to zero.
Is this scope made in the USA?
While Vortex Optics is an American brand, the Viper isn’t made in the USA. It is instead manufactured in either China or the Philippines, and then exported to the United States. This should not worry you, as Vortex has strict quality control on its optics.
How much torque should you use when mounting this scope?
Such as most high-end scopes, the Vortex Viper HS-T has a recommended torque of 18 feet-inch.
2) Vortex Razor HD Gen II
The Vortex Razor HD is such a great scope that both the first and the second-generation versions made this list. We will get started by the cream of the crop, the Vortex Razor HD Gen II, which provides a considerable upgrade over the first iteration of the scope.
First and foremost, let’s get one thing out of the way. The Vortex Razor HD Gen II is not a cheap scope. As a matter of fact, this is one of the most expensive scopes out there. So, if you are looking for something a little bit more budget-conscious, then, unfortunately, the Vortex Razor HD Gen II is not for you.
But for those who have the money, the Vortex Razor HD Gen II proves to be one of the best .338 Win Mag scopes money can buy.
Build-wise, the Razor HD Gen II just looks and feels premium. In fact, I also rated it as the best scope for ar 10 that I’ve used. It has an anodized finish that not only gives it a sleek look, but also serves a function — the finish helps to reduce glare that would give away the shooter’s position. The scope is made from a solid aircraft-grade aluminum block, which ensures its strength and rigidity, and is completely fog, water and shockproof.
Sure, the build of the Razor HD Gen II is nothing short of excellent, but the turrets and the glass are the undeniable pieces de resistance. The turrets are extremely crisp, and probably the best turrets you will find in any scope out there. The turrets have L-TEC Zero Stop technology, as well as a visual indicator that helps you keeping track of your adjustments.
The glass is also excellent. Vortex uses something called an “APO optical system”, which increases image quality. The high-density and low-dispersion glass provides a stunning picture at every time of the day. There is also an anti-reflective coating that reduces reflections and decreases brightness levels, so you never miss a shot.
Speaking of never missing a shot, the reticle also ensures that you hit your targets. The Vortex Razor HD Gen II is available with a multitude of reticles, so you can choose the one that really speaks to you and to your use case. Despite which reticle you end up choosing, the result will invariably be an excellent FFP, illuminated reticle.
If price is not an obstacle, then don’t think twice. This is probably the best scope you can get, and one that will definitely fulfill your needs.
There are two different types of reticles: EBR-7c and EBR-2c. What are the main differences between the two?
The main differences between the two reticles are the open center on the 2C, which is replaced by a dot on the 7C.
Does this scope come with a sunshade?
Yes. Vortex includes a 4-inch sunshade.
Is the Vortex Razor HD Gen II available in black?
Sadly, the Vortex Razor HD Gen II is only available in an anodized finish.
3) Vortex Razor HD Gen I
So, the Vortex Razor HD Gen II is too expensive for you. It happens. Luckily, there are cheaper (although not quite in the “budget range”) alternatives, such as the first iteration of the scope.
Everything that is true for the Gen II is also, for the most part, true about the Gen I. So, let’s speak of what sets the two generations apart.
The Gen II introduces slightly better glass, which would seem almost impossible when you look through the Gen I glass — the Vortex Razor HD Gen I also has very, very impressive glass. It also introduces L-TEC Zero Stop, which on the Gen I is limited to simple zero stop, which is not quite as good, but also gets the job done.
The zoom range on the second-generation is also slightly increased, but nothing too off-putting. There are locking turrets and illumination on the parallax knob. This is one of the main reasons I also rated this one of the best Scopes for CMP Service Rifle that I’ve tested.
These are the main features that set the Gen II apart from the Gen I. Remember: the second-generation was built on the back of a true giant.
The Vortex Razor HD Gen I is not as good as the Gen II, but it still beats most of its competition. Its biggest advantage over its successor is the price — you can often get the Gen I for 500 to 700 dollars cheaper than the Gen II.
If you want a truly premium scope, but can not afford the Gen II, please consider the Gen I. It is an excellent scope, even though there’s a better one out there.
4) Monstrum G3
If you have been browsing for scopes for a while, you’ve probably learned a thing or two, such as the fact that FFP scopes are usually expensive. The price only increases if you also add an illuminated reticle. It can be quite a surprise the fact that the Monstrum G3 gives you all of this… for less than 300 dollars.
It is not a dream. You can actually get a scope with premium features at a budget price — and it is not a bad scope either. The Monstrum G3 offers a lot of bang for its buck.https://monstrumtactical.com/about-us/
Of course, all of this comes with a few limitations. The glass on the Monstrum G3 is good, but not great. It won’t be quite the same as the glass on an actual premium scope, but it is not that bad either. Given its price point, the glass on the Monstrum G3 is completely acceptable. It is coated to reduce glare and prevent scopes, which is always a plus.
This first focal plane scope uses a “Type-H” reticle. This design allows for a quicker and more accurate range estimation and offers you an easy to see reticle. The Monstrum G3 reticle is illuminated — something you rarely, if ever, see at this price point.
Build-wise, the Monstrum G3 has an aluminum body and solid brass internals. This also makes it one of the best lever action scopes that I’ve tested. It is very sturdy and has a weight that matches its build — this scope weighs 14 ounces. The brass internals are definitely noticeable when you use the turrets — the clicks are satisfying and there is hardly any mush at all.
Because the turrets are another of the great surprises of the Monstrum G3. The turrets have a turret lock function and a return to zero function. They are adjustable in ¼ MOA increments and allow you to adjust the elevation and windage of the scope.
The only real negative thing that I can point out in the Monstrum G3 are the included lens covers. They are made from cheap plastic and are not durable at all.
Other than that, this is an extremely easy to recommend scope. Given its price point, there are no major drawbacks to the Monstrum G3 — it is even capable of competing with much more expensive scopes. If you are looking for a budget scope capable of going toe to toe with the more expensive ones, be sure to check out the Monstrum G3.
Does the Monstrum G3 come with a sunshade?
No. Monstrum does not include sunshades with most of its products. You will need to buy them separately. What Monstrum does include are the lens covers, however they are quite cheap and will break easily.
What calibers does the Monstrum G3 support?
The Monstrum G3 is rated for rounds up to .50 cal. This obviously includes .338 Winchester Magnum rounds.
How much of an upgrade is this scope compared to the G2?
The Monstrum G3 has brass internals instead of aluminum and a button that controls the reticle illumination. Overall, it is a sturdier scope than the previous iteration, which improved the glass over the G1. The optical elements are the same on both the G2 and the G3.
5) Burris Fullfield IV
When I make a scope list, I like to include something for every budget. Just as I have premium options in the Vortex Razor series, I also include some scopes that are lighter on the wallet. The Burris Fullfield IV falls into the latter category — this is a budget scope, but one that will probably leave you satisfied given its price.
The build is good. It is not excellent, but it is solid. There is no professional craftsmanship nor an extra attention to detail, but the solid T6 aluminum body leaves nothing to be desired. The turrets are a bit worse, but, for the price, they are quite usable.
The Burris Fullfield IV is available with a multitude of reticles. All of these are illuminated, which is always a nice surprise and one that you rarely see at this price point (I’m looking at you Monstrum G3).
Another nice surprise is the inclusion of a parallax adjustment turret. Most other Types of Scopes don’t have this feature. This is also something that you rarely see on budget scopes, which usually have a fixed parallax. With this parallax adjustment turret, you can adjust parallax to a maximum distance of 10 yards.
While the Burris Fullfield IV won’t make you write any love letters about it, it will give you a solid performance. For a relatively cheap price, you are getting a solid aluminum body and an illuminated reticle with adjustable parallax — and that is something you can’t really complain about.
Is this scope available with exposed turrets?
The Burris Fullfield IV comes with either exposed or capped turrets, depending on the type of reticle that you choose.
Which type of rings should you use with the Burris Fullfield IV?
Due to its sheer size and weight, it is recommended that you at least use high rings with the Burris Fullfield IV.
Best Scope for .338 Win Mag Buyer’s Guide
How to choose a scope for the .338 Win Mag
Choosing a scope for the .338 Win Mag is not a hard task. First and foremost, you need to know what you are going to be doing with the scope.
If you are going to be hunting large game, then you probably want a long-range scope that lets you accurately estimate your distance from the animal. If you are just using the large caliber ammunition as a defense mechanism, then you probably just want a scope that lets you focus on your target quickly and accuratelyhttps://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2016/WorkGroups/House%20Fish%20and%20Wildlife/Bills/H.460/Witness%20Testimony/H.460~Sara%20Walker~Non-Lead%20Hunting%20Bullets%20and%20Ammunition~5-8-2015.pdf.
Most of the scopes on this list sort of do the same. They are all long-range scopes that fall into different pricing categories and offer different features. It is up to you to decide which features you value the most.
What size scope do I need for a .338 Winchester Magnum?
For such a large caliber, you are probably going to need a large scope. .338 Winchester Magnum packs a kick, and you need something that can withstand it. Smaller optics will probably suffer some damage when overexposed to that type of recoil and will most likely not keep their zero for long.
However, the size of scope you need will depend on… well, your needs. Sadly, there is no right answer for this. You have to know what you value the most. But, as a rule of thumb, a large scope is probably going to be the better choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
How far can a 338 Win Mag shoot?
Is a 338 Win Mag good for deer?
Which is better 300 Win Mag or 338 Win Mag?
There is no right answer as to what the best scope for the .338 Win Mag is. I have my preferences, but they might not be the same as yours — the best scope for me, would probably not be the best scope for you.
That being said, I think that it is undeniable that the Vortex Razor HD Gen II is one of the best scopes out there. Of course, this quality comes with a very steep price — which is sadly not for everyone.
If you are looking for a premium experience, albeit a slightly cheaper one, then the Vortex Razor HD, the first iteration, also offers excellent quality while not being as expensive as its successor.
For a budget scope, the Monstrum G3 is an easy recommendation. For a very affordable price, you are getting an FFP scope with an illuminated reticle.
Which is your favorite .338 Win Mag scope? What do you use it for? Let us know in the comments below.
Do Leopold and Zeiss not make anything worth mentioning to mount on a 338WM? I like my Leopold binos more than my Vortex.