A pellet gun, or air gun, offers a unique alternative to a traditional firearm. Like a BB gun, a pellet gun uses compressed air and a powerful spring to propel a metal projectile at high speeds. Since the driving force is a sudden release of compressed air rather than a chambered explosion, pellet guns are less dangerous than traditional rifles. That is part of the reason why they are beginner and child friendly. Even though they aren’t as dangerous as traditional rifles, they should still be handled with care just like any other firearm.
With the above in mind, they still generate enough velocity to be a practical tool for hunting and target shooting. In fact, basic pellet guns can be accurate from 50 to 100 yards. Higher-end models are accurate up to even greater distances.
Since pellet guns can generate enough kinetic energy to fire a projectile a significant distance, it is important to make sure you have the correct type of sight or scope, especially if you are planning to use your pellet gun for hunting small game or shooting targets.
In this scope review, we are going to take a close look at the best scopes for a pellet gun. Also, be sure you know how to mount a scope the right way! Not only will we highlight some of the best options on the market today, but we will also explain some of the factors that you should consider when choosing the best scope for your particular pellet gun.
Are There Differences Between a Pellet Gun Scope and a Standard Rifle Scope?
You may be wondering if you need to purchase a specialized scope for your pellet gun, or if you can simply mount a traditional rifle scope on your air gun. Can You Put A Rifle Scope On A Pellet Gun? The truth is, it is possible to mount a standard rifle scope on a pellet gun, but you may run into some problems.
For starters, regular rifle scopes are designed to withstand heavy recoil from a rifle. The recoil generated by a pellet gun is actually quite different. When a spring-piston pellet gun is fired, the spring releases its stored energy, which creates normal recoil. You will feel that recoil in your shoulder, as well as forward directed recoil, which will transfer energy toward the end of the barrel. This is because the powerful spring that helps force air out of the compression tube is launched forward when you pull the trigger.
While this may not seem like a major issue, it can actually end up damaging low-quality and fragile scopes that were not designed to withstand this bi-directional recoil. In some cases, the optical lens in the scope can even crack as a result of this unique type of recoil. This is why you may see the packaging for some scopes marked with an “air gun rating.”
To help make things easy, all of the scopes that made our best-of list are rated for use with pellet guns, so you will not have to worry about your new scope cracking or shattering if you use it with your pellet gun.
The Best Scopes for a Pellet Gun
Choosing the right scope for your pellet gun can be more difficult than you would expect, especially if you are new to the world of air guns. To help you make the right choice, we have highlighted some of the best options on the market today to help you find the best air rifle scope.
Choose one of the following scopes and improve your visibility and accuracy the next time you take aim with your pellet gun:
- Best Overall Performance
- Fingertip Adjustable
- Water-, Fog-, and Shock-Proof
- Best Value
- Highly Adjustable
- Best for Low-Light Conditions
- Most Versatile Option
- Best for All Types of Weather Conditions
- Built-in, 35-Color LED Illumination
1. TASCO 3 – 9 x 40 Air Rifle Scope
Our top pick for the best overall pellet gun scope is the TASCO 3-9 x 40 Air Rifle Scope. The reason it takes our top spot is for the simple fact that it offers the best overall performance. While you may expect such a high-performance scope to be a fairly expensive option, the TASCO 3-9 x 40 is actually surprisingly affordable. It also works well as a hunting scope.
TASCO specifically designed this fully adjustable scope for air rifles. As a result, it works extremely well for pellet guns. It can fully withstand the bi-directional recoil generated by even the most powerful pellet guns, so you will not have to worry about the lenses cracking, even after years of heavy use.
What is the TASCO 3-9 x 40 Air Rifle Scope Made Out Of?
Part of the reason why the TASCO is such a durable pellet gun scope is the fact that it is made from thick aluminum. This helps to keep the weight at just 0.85 lbs while ensuring the scope is strong enough to withstand repeated use.
The lenses are fully coated, which means they are fog-proof. This means you can even use the scope in the most humid conditions without having to worry about your vision being obscured by fog or moisture buildup.
The main tube and all of the adjustment knobs are powder-coated, which ensures the scope is waterproof and corrosion-resistant. Again, this allows you to use the TASCO 3-9 x 40 in any weather conditions.
Is the TASCO 3-9 x 40 Air Rifle Scope Adjustable?
The TASCO is fingertip adjustable, which means you will not have to use any sort of tools to make distance adjustments. You simply twist the capped turrets with your index finger and thumb until you have found the correct range for your specific target. The ¼ M.O.A. adjustment dial clicks, which helps you zero in on your target in a fast and accurate way.
It has an accurate range of 100 yards, which is a decent distance for a pellet gun scope, especially one that is available at such a budget-friendly price.
2. Winchester 4 x 32 Air Rifle Scope with Adjustable Objective
Like the TASCO, the Winchester 4 x 32 Scope was specifically designed to work with all types of air rifles, including pellet guns. It offers 4x magnification, as well as an adjustable objective, which helps to eliminate parallax error.
What really sets the Winchester 4 x 32 Air Rifle Scope apart is its incredibly budget-friendly price. Despite its impressive quality, it has a similar price to what you would expect to pay for a low-quality scope from a big box store. Not only does it allow for precise targeting from a more than reasonable distance, but it also comes with all of the mounting hardware you will need to attach it to a standard 3/8-inch dovetail.
What is the Winchester 4 x 32 Air Rifle Scope Made Out Of?
Just like the TASCO, the Winchester 4 x 32 Air Rifle Scope has a full aluminum construction, which explains why it is so lightweight. The aluminum housing has a diameter of just 1”, but it is actually incredibly strong. In fact, you will not have to worry if you accidentally drop the scope, as its durable design helps protect the objective lens.
It is also waterproof, so you will not have to worry about corrosion damaging the structural integrity of the scope. This is great news if you are someone that likes to take your pellet gun outside in all kinds of weather conditions. The last thing you want is for rain and humidity to damage the metallic interior of your scope, which, luckily, is not going to be an issue with the Winchester 4 x 32 Air Rifle Scope.
How Accurate is the Winchester 4 x 32 Air Rifle Scope?
The 32mm objective diameter of the Winchester 4 x 32 ensures that it works incredibly well in almost all light conditions. The 4x magnification helps you zero in on targets, even when they are at a significant distance.
We also really like that it features a crosshair design, which also helps you more precisely target your shot. The impact point is even adjustable, which helps you factor in elevation and wind conditions. When used correctly, it can be such an accurate scope that you can even begin to use your pellet gun for hunting small game.
While we assumed that a pellet gun scope that was priced so low would be poorly made, we have to admit that the Winchester 4 x 32 Air Rifle Scope with Adjustable Objective really surprised and impressed us. It is accurate, easy to adjust, and available at a very reasonable price point.
3. UTG 4 – 16 x 44 AO Compact Air Rifle Scope
The UTG 4 – 16×44 AO Air Rifle Scope is the highest performance pellet gun scope on our list. While it is also the most expensive option on our list, it certainly justifies its relatively high price tag when you consider just how many features are packed into it.
The UTG 4 Scope was specifically designed to help users improve their aim and performance at a wide variety of distances. To achieve this, UTG outfitted the scope with a 4 – 16x magnification range. This impressive magnification range works in conjunction with a side wheel adjustable parallax, so you can fine-tune the range to your exact needs and preferences.
What Features Do the UTG 4 – 16×44 AO Air Rifle Scope Offer?
In addition to a truly impressive magnification range, the UTG 4 comes equipped with UTG’s patented EZ TAP 36-Color Illumination Enhancing System. This allows you to illuminate the reticle with a wide variety of different colors, which enhances brightness and makes targets appear more vivid and clear. This unique LED-powered illumination system is a great option, especially if you are using the scope in low-light conditions.
If you prefer a brighter color, you can do so with the simple click of a button; however, you also have the option to use the scope without illumination, which will allow you to toggle between a standard green or red lens.
As an added bonus, the UTG 4 comes with an angled sunshade as well as a flip-open lens cap, which can help to protect the lens from scratching when it is not in use. You also get UTG’s Max Strength detachable scope rings, so you can easily attach your air gun to the scope mount in minutes. You might wonder “what scope rings do I need?” but it really depends on your rifle & indivudal preferences!
What to Look for in a Pellet Gun Scope
If you have never purchased a scope for a pellet gun before, you might be wondering what you should look out for. While all three of the scopes we highlighted above would make an excellent choice, it is still worth familiarizing yourself with some of the factors that make a scope a good option for a pellet gun.
As with any type of scope, you will want to choose one that makes it easy to adjust the range. If you cannot adjust the level of magnification, you will not be able to accurately find targets at varying distances. This is particularly important if you are planning on using your pellet gun for hunting, as your targets will not always be at a set distance.
You will also need to take your own budget into consideration. Scopes can range in price from as little as $15 to $400 or more. Even the three scopes we highlighted above range in price by quite a significant degree. Do not allow yourself to get tricked into paying extra for a scope you do not need. In other words, only pay for the features you actually need.
As we discussed above, pellet guns generate a unique type of recoil, so it is important that you are choosing a scope that can handle bi-directional recoil.
You will also want to choose a scope that can actually fit on your pellet gun. Measure your specific pellet gun and have an idea of the maximum length of scope it will accommodate before you start shopping.
Frequently Asked Questions
What magnification is best for air rifles?
Which is better .22 or .177 air rifle?
Which air rifle caliber is best for hunting?
Pellet guns can be incredibly useful and practical alternatives to conventional firearms. They almost always have looser licensing requirements, and they are not as dangerous as a standard firearm, which is why they can be such a great learning tool for beginners and children.
If you outfit your pellet gun with an appropriate scope, you can greatly improve your accuracy and performance. Rather than blindly firing at tin cans in the backyard, turn your pellet gun into something you can use to hunt small game and practice your skills simply by choosing the right scope!