Best Rifle Scopes Under 500 Reviews In 2021

Hunting season is upon us, and one of the most important pieces of equipment you need to get is a good riflescope. It doesn’t matter if you are hunting for deer or rabbits, you want to have a clear shot with your rifle. But what do you look for in a good rifle scope?

If you are looking for the best rifle scopes under 500. Then it is important to have a look at this list of top five rifle scope reviews. We are put together after meticulous research and are professionally written to hold your hand. There are so many different options out there that it can be hard to figure out which one will be best for your needs.

It is a daunting task to find the best inexpensive rifle scopes. The industry is dominated by many reputable manufacturers who never cease to amaze hunters with new scopes.

Best Rifle Scopes Under 500 Comparison Table

Product Features Details

Sightmark Wraith HD 2-16×28 Digital Riflescope

Magnification: 2-16 x 28

Reticle: Digital Reticle

Weight: 1 Pound

Nikon M-Tactical 3-12x42SF Matte MK1-MRAD

Magnification: 3-12 x 42

Reticle: MK1-MRAD

Weight: 0.06

Vortex Optics Viper Parallax Adjustment Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

Magnification: 6.5-20 x 44

Reticle: Mil-Dot

Weight: 2 Pounds

Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical First Focal Plane Riflescopes

Magnification: 6-24 x 50mm

Reticle: EBR-2C MOA (FFP)

Weight: 2.5 Pounds

Nikon Monarch 3 BDC Rifle Scope

Magnification: 3-12 x 42

Reticle: Changeable

Weight: 1.17 Pounds

Top 5 Best Rifle Scopes Under 500 Review

Here, You find the best rifle scope under 500 we create an awesome list for you. Our 3 expert team members research 50+ products and lots of resources. I hope you like our picks. If you have any comments about our list feel free to comment below. We would love to hear from you.

1. Sightmark Wraith HD 2-16×28 Digital Riflescope

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”210″ identifier=”B08G5B6SJK” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”opticsforhunting-20″ width=”250″]The Sightmark Photon XT is an incredible rifle scope with magnificent magnification power. Its notoriety as one of the best rifle scope under 500 is rightfully deserved.

This spectacular scope is highly effective and precise regardless of the light conditions. With a magnification of 4.6X42, this is one of the most powerful devices in the modern market. Whether it’s competitive shooting or hunting this stands scope is worth a rigorous consideration. It’s one of the best rifle scopes and will not disappoint.

The scope feature and exquisitely done construction which is lightweight for easier operation, handling, and maneuverability. It stunningly reduces fatigue and strain making all your missions enjoyable and successful. It is acclaimed as user-friendly devices that make hunting in all terrains a breeze. The scope has been fondly accepted by many hunters because of its versatility and technical enhancements. They bring a tactical advantage that other scopes will not accord.

Moreover, the scope has 6 reticle options across the green, red, and white categories. There are 2 crossbow reticles, a mil-dot reticle, Germany-style reticles, and 2 duplex reticles. This gives you a diversified advantage and a wide range of easy applications.

One fascinating aspect is the night vision capability which makes it perfect for action after sunset. Even during the night it focuses and magnifies your target with optimal clarity. Besides, it’s a spectacular performer even in long-range shooting.

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  • Built in light source
  • Long battery life
  • Compatible with most rifles



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  • Stiff controls

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2. Nikon M-Tactical 3-12x42SF Matte MK1-MRAD

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”210″ identifier=”B07CNRP122″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”opticsforhunting-20″ width=”350″]When it comes to sports optics, Nikon is a force to reckon with. One of its incredible product is the Nikon M-Tactical 3-12x42SF Matte MK1-MRAD rifle scope. This is a well-crafted budget rifle scope that is engineered to work with a number of calibers and rounds. A robust 30mm main tube is constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum. Nikon M-Tactical long range scope models feature side focus parallax adjustment. The riflescope features a 42mm objective lens that ensures superior light transmission. The objective lens measures 13.1 inches, and at 20.5 oz it is a bit weight.

The Nikon M-Tactical 3-12x42SF Matte MK1-MRAD scope has a magnificent eye relief which ranges from 3.7 to 4 inches. In addition, its exit pupil is also laudable and depending on your magnification it can be between 2.6mm and 10.5mm. Moreover, the scope provides adjustable magnification range between 4X and 16X. Its magnification is capable of offering clear, crisp images regardless of the power.

Another noteworthy advantage is the adjustable knob that provides the ease of taking sharp images of the target in a flash. What’s more; the Nikon duplex Reticle gives you the freedom to quickly adjust the elevation depending on your target range.

The optics quality is also worth mentioning. The scope features fully multi-coated optics which guarantee up to 95% of light transmission through its lens. Its excellent light transmission ensures outstanding scope transmittance and provides clear images in all light conditions. In addition, its ultra-clear coat optical system provides images with quality near HD quality.

On the flip side, the scope doesn’t offer a generous field of view. Its field of view stands between 6.3ft at 16X and 25.2ft at 4X magnification, 100 yards from the target. Additionally, the scope is built to last with an optic chamber that is nitrogen purged. Its lens is also sealed using O rings which make the scope to be both fog and waterproof.

Nikon M-Tactical 3-12 line MOA reticle or MRAD reticle is with new turret design and all laser etching on the scope. No issues running that scope to 550+ yard using spot on and the bdc reticle.


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  • Excellent accuracy
  • Perfect for large caliber rifles
  • Highly durable

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  • Slightly bulky
  • Not easy to adjust its eye relief

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3. Vortex Optics Viper Parallax Adjustment Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”180″ identifier=”B003JP6M64″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”opticsforhunting-20″ width=”350″]The viper 6.5-20×44 is built on a 30mm main tube. This Vortex Optics Viper Parallax Adjustment SFP Mil Dot (MOA) rifle scope has stamped its authority as a premium tool that competes well with the best rifle scopes. Though it’s moderately expensive the scope has supreme features that help in delivering incredible performance.

The riflescope has a mil-dot reticle which is highly effective and convenient. This scope origin from the US Marine Corps. The reticle helps in the estimation of bullet holdover, windage, and target range. This makes the rifle scope highly effective for long-distance hunters or competitive shooters.

The riflescope is perfectly sealed with the O rings and the Argon gas purging. This makes the gun waterproof and fog proof as well as aiding its durability. The capped turret settings give you the freedom to quickly re-index to zero when you sight the target. Besides, the caps offer maximum protection for the turrets.

Another incredible feature for this scope is the single piece 30mm tube. It maximizes the alignment for optimum vision performance, improved accuracy, and strength. The precision Glide rector system ensures the zoom lens mechanism uses premium components for smooth magnification adjustments

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  • Excellent light transmission
  • Quick focus eyepiece
  • Has 3 reticle styles
  • Unlimited lifetime warranty
  • Intuitive adjustment controls

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  • Not good at close range
  • Does not hold zero well

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4. Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical First Focal Plane Riflescopes

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”150″ identifier=”B07G8MF1L3″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”opticsforhunting-20″ width=”310″]The Vortex Optics Diamondback tactical first focal plane 4-16×44 stands at the intersection of precision value, this item is a moderately priced rifle scope that comes with features of a high-end scope. All its features work in unison to deliver unmatched performance in all light conditions.

The highly regarded one-piece 30mm tube is crafted using aircraft caliber aluminum. This provides exquisite rigidity and supplies ample room for long-distance windage and elevation adjustment. In addition, the scope has a fast-focus eyepiece which gives it reticle a quick and easy focusing. Zoom lens ensure smooth magnification with a 4x zoom range.

The illuminated reticle is another sell for this rifle scope. Because of the electronic illumination, the reticle works incredibly well in low light conditions. It’s easier to turn on or off the illumination with a simple click between the intensity levels. This gives you the freedom to select your preferred illumination setting with ease. The XR multi coated lens help in delivering bright images with excellent light transmission even under low light.

Moreover, the glass etched reticle offers optimum reliability and durability. The customizable rotational stop (CRS) zero stop prevents you from dialing multiple rotations below zero. This helps to avoid losing the zero when you dial large elevation corrections amounts.


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  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Has illuminated reticle
  • Incredible illumination control
  • Comes with a CRS zero stop

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  • Lines are not easy to see in dim light

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5. Nikon Monarch 3 BDC Rifle Scope

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”250″ identifier=”B00BAHUSYU” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”opticsforhunting-20″ width=”250″] The Nikon Monarch is an incredible rifle scope that stands top of the medium-range echelon. If you are a hunter who usually stalks big games, you will not be forgiven if this is not one of your tools. It’s one of the best rifle scopes in the modern market.

This rifle scope has all the features of a high-end device despite being moderately priced. It is a single-piece tool that is made of high-grade aluminum and weighs only 20oz. its lightweight nature coupled with its compactness makes this scope one of the best for long hunting sessions. All its moving parts are up to snuff. Its focus and magnification rings function perfectly without any grinding.

In addition, this scope has excellent optical quality. Its chromatic aberration is exquisitely controlled at all its magnification levels. The excellent chromatic aberration is aided by the sunshade adaptable feature.

The 50mm ocular lens feature Ultra Clearcoat Optical System that gives every hunter/shooter a bright and sharp flat sight picture. With a theoretical 95% light transmission, this riflescope delivers incredible clarity without any blurriness.

Another sell is the interchangeable turret technology is easily customizable with the windage and target-style elevation caps and knobs.


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  • Quick focus eyepiece
  • Excellent Ultra ClearCoat Optical system
  • Intuitive adjustments control
  • Reasonably priced

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  • Problematic crosshairs

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What Is The Best Rifle Scope Under 500 In The Market Now, and Why This Is Best?

The technological advancement recorded in the riflescope space is commendable. With just $500 or under you can get your claws on a high-quality scope that will compliment your skills. The market is flooded with many products and selecting the best is a daunting task.

We have saved you the hassle and researched thoroughly to give you’re the best of the best in the market right now.


This is arguably the best rifle scopes under $500 in the current market. Although the brand itself (vortex) doesn’t rank highly, this particular rifle scope cannot be overlooked. Its status as the best premium rifle scope cannot be easily shaken. So what makes this rifle scope unique?

The Vortex Viper PA has an extra-low dispersion (XD) lens element that enhances resolution and color quality. This results in sharp and crisp images of your target all the settings of zoom. In addition, the lens is XR fully multi-coated. This proprietary coating increases the light transmission thanks to the multiple anti-reflective coatings. Moreover, there is a second focal plane reticle (SFP) which ideally sized appearance. The reticle sub tensions are incredible at estimating holdover, range, and wind drift correction.

The riflescope features a single-piece 30mm main tube that is made from aircraft caliber aluminum. The single-piece aluminum maximizes alignment for optimal visual performance and accuracy. Besides, this ensures the waterproofness and strength of the rifle scope.

Moreover, this scope has specially designed capped reset turrets. This allows the turrets to be quickly reindexed to zero especially after sighting. Additionally, tits side scope which is featured on the left side allows for easier accessibility. This comes in handy when the hunting or shooting condition becomes less favorable.

The internal mechanism design is also spectacular. The scope uses a precision force spring system that is made using a premium components. This erector spring system accords optimal ease of adjustment and guarantees maximum repeatability.

The riflescope is also impressive with its smooth magnification. The precision glide erector system has premium components in its zoom lens mechanism.

Generally, the structural integrity of this riflescope is second to none. It has a rigidly constructed body that is capable of withstanding recoil and impact. This is a good rifle scope to use in all-weather condition whether rough or smooth.

Frequently Asked Question

1. Which is better: red dot or traditional hunting rifle scopes?

The red dot scope has gained in popularity in recent years, but is it truly better than traditional hunting rifle scopes? The answer depends on the situation. The red dot scope offers a lightweight, convenient alternative that can be easily attached to any firearm. It also offers an excellent field of vision that lets you easily scan the area for targets. Also, red dot sights work very well at night. However, for more accurate shots at longer distances, a traditional hunting rifle scope might be preferable. Traditional rifle scopes work very well for long range shooting like dear hunting because they provide steadier aim than red dots do.

Which one is better: fixed power or variable power riflescope?

A common question among hunters is which types of scopes are better: fixed power or variable power? A fixed power rifle scope is more versatile in that it will work for all ranges, but the disadvantage is that the magnification is not adjustable. A variable power scope will offer magnification with different ranges, but can be overcomplicated when it comes to certain distances. However, the advantage is that it can allow for more movement in difficult shots when at close range.

Finale Verdict

The availability of high quality the best rifle scopes under 500 is a good sign that the industry has really progressed. It’s becoming truly daunting to get the best out the market especially for the newbies.

What we know for sure is that the above-listed rifle scopes are of top quality and they will serve you well. We hope this list helps you make a better decision on your next purchase, please feel free to leave any questions or comments below.

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