Rifle scopes are useful for hunters, sports fans and outdoor enthusiasts. As shooting requires accuracy and precision, the advanced tools are commonly used to heighten hunting efficiency.

They reduce eye strain, improve the hunter’s chances to hit the target, add the necessary lighting at night, eliminated canting issues.

With a top-quality rifle scope, you are not induced to align the shot. So, with reliable, durable optics, hunting or shooting is easy and more efficient. According to Wikipedia, a spotting scope is a small telescope with optics that is used for the observation of various objects.

It is designed for hunting, birdwatching and naturalist activities. Meanwhile, it’s not easy for a beginner or for an experienced hunter or a sports professional to select the suitable scope. Multiple important factors are to be considered, such as eye relief, magnification, field view.

Lenses are to be made of top-quality glass; parallax adjustment, focusing and significant adjustment ranges are essential for long-distance shooting.

Every scope is professionally designed for the particular riffle types and models.
Meanwhile, before selecting a suitable scope, you are to consider the shooting distance and conditions (day or night), durability and weight, as well as your riffle type.

The scopes are divided into two basic types: variable ones that is with adjustable magnification and fixed ones.
Fixed scopes are used for the special applications such as sports or ornithology.
They are preferable if you are always shooting at the same distance, in the same environment, as these tools are more durable, compact, lightweight and comfortable.

Variable scopes, to the contrary, are very popular and commonly used with sniper rifles. Therefore, they are more expensive than fixed ones, as they are essential for most hunters that proceed in the dynamic environments.

Reticle is to be comfortable and suitable for your hunting purposes. The most common types are BDC (ballistic) and mil-dot ones. These scopes are necessary to estimate the real distance to the target or adjust the bullet trajectory.

The other popular reticle types are Crosshair, German, Duplex and illuminated. Each of them has the special pattern, being used for particular hunting applications. For example, Nikoplex, or Duplex is a combination of thin horizontal and vertical lines that intersect in the center on lens.

Meanwhile, not only reliability and durability, but cost matters when selecting a suitable scope for your hunting needs. Therefore, we review the best scopes under 500 USD herewith, as this price is commonly affordable for most of hunters.

However, it implies top quality, essential features and characteristics. So, let’s highlight the best, most popular scopes of the year, their pros and cons, basic applications and interactability.

1. Celestron 52252 Ultima Zoom Scope

Celestron – Ultima 100 Angled Spotting Scope – 22-66x Zoom Eyepiece – Multi-coated Optics for...
  • ULTIMA ANGLED ZOOM SPOTTING SCOPE: This versatile all-around...
  • MULTI-COATED OPTICS: Every lens surface is coated multiple...
  • SHARP ZOOM EYEPIECE FUNCTION: The large focus dial allows...

Large and extremely durable, the spotting scope is wisely designed for target shooters and bird watchers. Standing out by angled body design, enhanced performance and large objective lens, the scope offers bright images even in low-light conditions.

Therefore, it’s admitted as the best tactical scope under 500 UDS.

Reliability and Durability

Thanks to rubber armored body, the scope is shock absorbing. It is suitable for extreme atmospheric conditions due to excellent, reliable, fog proof and waterproof systems.

A soft carrying case in enclosed for secure transportation. Made in the USA (California)


Multi-coated, ultra-large objective lens transmits light perfectly. It delivers bright, clear images of the targeted objects.

Quick targeting is enabled by the sight tube. So, you can change the object focus swiftly, without frightening the birds away. 22-66x magnification is great for any image size. Zooming facility is wide enough for any nature observation or long-distance spotting purposes.


The scope is big and heavy, but still portable.


45-degree angled scope is suitable for viewing. It is comfortable and bright, and it’s commonly used with a heavy-duty tripod. An adaptable camera can be mounted on it.


The scope is quite affordable and worth the price as it’s top-quality, durable and high-performance.
For additional information, please, check an online review.

A manual can be also helpful.

  • Pros
  • clear, bright images;
  • waterproof body;
  • t-ring to attach and adaptable camera.
  • Cons
  • large and heavy;
  • a bit pricey.

2. Athlon Argos BTR 6-24*50 FFP Riflescope

Athlon Optics , Argos BTR, Riflescope, 6-24 x 50 First Focal Plane (FFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated...
  • First focal plane reticle stays valid at all power settings...
  • Advanced Fully Multi-Coated lenses gives you better light...
  • Reticle etched on the glass that provides excellent backing...
  • The 6061T6 aircraft grade aluminum tube that has exceptional...
  • Argon purging gives you better waterproofing and thermal...

First Focal Plane, adjustable Scopes are extremely popular nowadays. They have MIL Dot reticles installed towards its fronts, allowing perfect flexibility in various shooting situations. The reticle enables the hunter to estimate approximate distance to the target.

The scopes are appropriate for fast changing environments, long range and tactical shooting. The given model is recognized as the best ffp scope under $500 as it’s strong, durable, top-quality and weather resistant.

Meanwhile, scopes of this type are uncommon, rare and a bit more expensive than other products.

Reliability and Durability

Aluminum (6061 T6 aircraft grade) is extremely strong, protecting the lens in the most reliable, safe way. Exceptional mechanical integrity makes the scope durable. Thermal stability and water resistance makes the product suitable for multiple outdoor hunting purposes.

These capabilities were achieved thanks to usage of argon (inert gas) that purges moisture out of the tube.

The scope is shockproof, withstanding 1000G recoil 1000 times. Exclusive XPL coating protects the lenses from grease and dirt. The reticle is etched on the top-quality glass, providing excellent durability and perfect backing support. Made in the USA (Kansas).


Multi-coated lens delivers bright, clear image, providing optimum brightness and perfect light transmission. Parallax adjustment is precise, accurate and repeatable. The best power settings are available, empowering you to adjust the target image, zooming it in and out.


Due to perfect aluminum tube, the scope is compact and lightweight.


Standard look, but unique, exclusive details.


A bit expensive, but very good for the perfect qualities and features.

Product information:

  • length: 4.1 inches;
  • weight: 2 pounds (29.6 oz);
  • reticle: APRM IR FFP MIL;
  • magnification: 6-24 X;
  • lens diameter: 50 mm;
  • eye relief: 3.3 in.;
  • exit pupil: 8.2-2.1 mm.;
  • field of view: 16.7-4.5 ft. at 100 yards;
  • tube diameter: 30 mm.;
  • waterproof, fog proof, shock proof;
  • finish: matte black.
  • Pros
  • enhanced durability and reliability;
  • perfect flexibility and adjustment range;
  • lightweight, waterproof design;
  • bright, clear images.
  • Cons
  • a bit pricey;
  • mushy turrets;
  • not the best glass.

3. Nikon M 308 4-16*42 mm Riflescope

The scope is a great example of heavy caliber, long-range scopes. It is equipped with several rapid action, tactical turrets and comes with BDC 800 or Nikoplex M-308 reticles. M 20 MOA mount (base) is advanced and cost-saving.

The riflescope is a top quality product that is considered the best scope for 308 ar rifle.

Reliability and Durability

Waterproof, shockproof, fog proof, one-piece main body adds durability.


The model is relatively high-performance and heavy-duty. Multi-coated optics provide 95% light transmission, offering amazingly bright images. 4 inches of eye relief is comfortable for brilliant shooting. Tactical-style turrets are easy-to-reset, finger adjustable.

The scope provides long-distance accuracy and reliability.


Very lightweight and compact.


Excellent, well-built, nice design.


Excellent, top-quality scope for the price. Please, watch a reference video.
Product information:

  • dimensions: 15.4*4.8*3.1 inches;
  • weight: 1.4 pounds;
  • magnification: 4-16 X;
  • lens diameter: 42 mm;
  • eye relief: 3.7-4 in.;
  • exit pupil: 2.6-10.5 mm.;
  • field of view: 6.3-25.2 ft. at 100 yards;
  • tube diameter: 1 in.;
  • waterproof, fog proof, shock proof (O-ring sealed and Nitrogen filled);
  • finish: matte black.
  • Pros
  • exact turrets;
  • parallax adjustment;
  • perfect lens covens included;
  • excellent accuracy;
  • high performance.
  • Cons
  • a bit pricey;
  • a SFP (second focal plane) scope.

4. Caldwell Field Pod

Caldwell DeadShot FieldPod Magnum Adjustable Ambidextrous Rifle Shooting Rest for Outdoor Range and...
  • DIMENSIONS: Weighs approximately 13 pounds and adjusts from...
  • ACCURACY: With a cast aluminum hub design, bubble level,...
  • NON-DESTRUCTIVE: This rest features over molded, non-marring...
  • EASE OF USE: A tension knob is conveniently placed to allow...
  • VERSATILITY: Features ultra-stable dual frame construction...

Highly portable Caldwell tripods allow great stability and shooting accuracy. This product is listed among the most reliable and popular ones. It is admitted as the best shooting tripod due to lightweight and reliable aluminum construction, great height adjustment range.

Reliability and Durability

Dual-tube frame that ensures stability and rigidity.


Enhanced stability and portability. Adjustable length guarantees a perfect balance. The tripod is suitable for use sitting, standing or prone; predator hunting. Smooth, 360 ° rotation enables you to acquire any targets immediately. The pod quickly folds, enabling intelligent disassembly.


The tripod is made of lightweight aluminum. Compact in carry position.


Innovative design to support any rifle, gun or crossbow.


The product is expensive, but top-quality and reliable. Please, watch a quick review online:

Product information:

  • dimensions: 10.2 *43.5*60 inches;
  • weight: 4.8 ounces;
  • height adjustment range: 18-60”;
  • lightweight aluminum construction.
  • Pros
  • reliability;
  • light weight;
  • adjustable height;
  • portability.
  • Cons
  • no leg sliding control;
  • not “solid rock”;
  • excessive price.

5. Harris Engineering Base BiPod

Harris Engineering S-LM Hinged Base 9-13-Inch BiPod, Black
  • Rotates To Either Side For Instant Leveling On Uneven Ground
  • The Hinged Base Has Tension Adjustment And Buff Springs To...
  • The Legs Eject By Spring Action
  • Country Of Origin: United States

Studying the best shooting sticks review, we can’t miss this versatile, ultralight, sturdy product. Harris Bipods are manufactured from steel and hard alloys, being top quality and extremely fast. The pod is to be attached to a sling swivel base (stud).

The legs kick out when the release button is fully depressed.

Reliability and Durability

Metal frame (made of hard alloys and heat treated steel) ensures durability and strength. Black anodized finish makes the pad suitable for use in harsh and cool weather conditions.


Tremor and looseness in eliminated thanks to buffer springs and tension adjustment on the hinged base. The bipod use is comfortable in sitting and prone positions. It is suitable for heavy and tall people.


The pod is lightweight and adjustable.


The product is easy to install and well-built.


A bit pricey, but it’s worth it. A video is recommended for watching before purchasing or usage of the product.

Product information:

  • dimensions: 12.5*4*13 inches;
  • weight: 14.4 oz;
  • reliable metal construction;
  • black anodized finish.
  • Pros
  • versatility;
  • reliability;
  • light weight;
  • made of durable, heavy duty materials (metals);perfect height adjustment range.
  • Cons
  • high price.

6. UTG 3-12*44 30 mm Compact Scope

UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, Rings , Black
  • 30-millimeter SWAT 3-12X44 IE tactical range estimating...
  • 30-Millimeter tube built on True Strength Platform: sealed...
  • Best in class multi emerald coated lenses; integrated angled...
  • Special circuit and housing design for uninterrupted...
  • Premium zero locking and zero resetting target turrets with...

The compact and lightweight scope is the most affordable. It is very popular, convenient for hunting, reliable and adjustable.

It is versatile, suitable for game, tactical and predator hunting. Therefore, it is known as the best mil dot scope under $500, being durable and reliable.

Reliability and Durability

True-strength, 30 mm. tube platform ensures durability, weather resistance and the highest possible performance.


Innovative features such as zero resetting, zero locking turrets, uninterrupted illumination and multi-color reticle makes the scope unique and highly demanded. Emerald coated lenses are the best in its class, help to obtain glare-free visuals.

Parallax adjustment ensures accurate shooting. Locking feature prevents losing the necessary settings, allowing hunters to concentrate on the targets. Mil-dot reticle is versatile and adjustable. Magnification power is sufficient for long range, outdoor hunting.


Due to innovative technologies, the scope is the most lightweight and compact.


The product is well-built and easy-to-use.


The most affordable product, great for the price.

Please, watch a video commercial to know more about the unique UTG scope features.

Product information:

  • dimensions: 10.4*1.4*2.1 inches;
  • weight: 1.4 pounds;
  • magnification: 3-12 x;
  • lens diameter: 44 mm;
  • tube diameter: 30 mm.;
  • eye relief: 3-3.3 in.;
  • exit pupil: 13.1-3.7 mm.;
  • reticle: MIL DOT, 36-colors
  • field of view: 8.5-34 ft. at 100 yards;
  • rain-proof, shock-proof, fog-proof, nitrogen- filled;
  • color: black.
  • Pros
  • durability;
  • great, innovative features;
  • ease of use;
  • functionality;
  • affordability;
  • top-quality finish.
  • Cons
  • heavy for the size;
  • hard to tune;
  • small exit pupil;
  • contrast and color are not as good as expensive lenses provide.

Therefore, we have highlighted the best, most popular riffle accessories of 2018, their feature, pros and cons. They are designed for accurate shooting, enhanced efficiency, reduced eye strain. Some of them eliminate tremor, the other ones canting problems.

Meanwhile, all of these hunting accessories are durable, reliable and easy-to-use. So, take a look at my review of best gun safe under 1000. It could be useful, helping you to make an informed choice.

Featured Image: fieldandstream.com

About the Author Anton Scharff

Anton is a hunting expert who respects nature. Ask him anything about large game. Lover of the great outdoors.

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