How Much Should You Pay For A Hunting Scope ?

rifle Hunting Scope and ammo

If there was ever a loaded question in the optics realm it is how much should I spend on a hunting scope? It’s a tough question to answer. There are a number of different rules of thumb many can toss out there, and often these rules are pretty decent guidelines. Like all rules of thumb they don’t work for every person, but we’ll touch on them. Let’s look at the two most wide-spread ideologies around buying a scope.


Ideology 1 – The 2 to 1 Ratio


The best budget friendly piece of advice out there is the 2 to 1 rule. The 2 to 1 rule states that you should spend at least half of what you spent on the gun on the scope. So if you spend 400 on the gun, you should spend 200 on the scope. This rule makes a lot of sense in my opinion. Why would you spend 400 dollars on a rifle, and turn around and buy a 1,000 dollar scope? It doesn’t make much sense to have an average rifle with an incredible scope. The same goes for spending a thousand dollars on a rifle and a hundred and fifty dollars on a scope. It doesn’t make much sense. Typically the 2 to 1 ratio rule will often match the quality of the weapon to the quality of the scope.


Ideology 2 – Buy As Much Hunting Scope As You Can Afford.


This is one rule I rarely believe in, without putting some context behind it. If I have a thousand dollar budget for a rifle and scope, I can spend 500 on a rifle, and 500 on scope right? Sure, but can you actually shoot the weapon? If you have an established budget for your rifle and scope you should also make room for ammunition. A good rifle, and a good scope means nothing if you cannot hit your target in the first place.


With a good ammo budget in mind you can certainly spend whatever you want on a scope, but always ask yourself if it’s necessary, and would be more trigger time benefit you more than an expensive scope.

From Personal Experience.


If I am looking for a good, high quality scope for hunting I am willing to invest into a reputable company. Most of us aren’t rich people, and aren’t going to go spend a grand or more on a scope. I’m going to look for the factors and features I want and need as a hunter. I take into account the range I’m hunting at, the caliber I am using, and my own personal skill level.


I avoid features I really don’t need. I don’t need target turrets, I don’t need a 25 power magnification, and I don’t need night vision compatibility. I also don’t need anything with the words tactical in it, I’m not going into a gunfight, I am hunting a deer. I don’t always avoid the tactical moniker, but I don’t find it necessary. This allows me to cut costs significantly. I look for the features I need, and sometimes features I simply want.


Most hunters will never shoot beyond 200 to 300 yards, so with this in mind you can find a wide variety of scopes, often in the medium power range available. I do have a variety of different needs and wants on my optics. This includes a medium power magnification. Front focal plane scopes are a big deal in my opinion, and while not necessary, FFP scopes make adjustments easy at any magnification and due to that, any magnification. I also need my optic to be tough as nails, shockproof, waterproof, and fog proof.


Down to Brass Tax


What’s the number? Some of you may be asking by now. How much should I spend? Fair enough. How much should you pay for a hunting scope? I’d say between 250 to 350 dollars, in this price range you can purchase an affordable, but high quality, and tough scope. Between the 250 to 350 price range you can afford scopes like the Leupold VX-2.


The Leupold VX-2 is an excellent optic that is tough as nails, simple, and like all Leupold products is very high in quality. You can purchase a VX-2 for right around 260. If you are willing to spend a little more money the SWFA Falcon is a first focal plane scope with a variety of attractive features that make it an excellent rifle scope.


Last but not least, the cheapest scope I would hunt with is the Primary Arms 4-14 power FFP scope. This first focal plane scope is probably the most affordable first focal plane scope on the market, and it has an awesome reputation for quality. The Primary Arms scope can be found for as low as 220 dollars.

Also check out 4 other great hunting scope suggestions with a short review of each of them on  Rifle Optics World guide to best hunting scopes of 2016.


Shots Fired


Your budget is of course always your own, but quality and price is a delicate balance when it comes to choosing a solid scope. You can spend thousands on a good Nightforce scope, but how much you then have left for your rifle, the range you’re hunting at, and for shooting in general? On the other end if you spend too little you may be buying a piece of junk, that won’t even hold zero. I feel confident that buying scopes around the 250 to 350 dollar range will result in a well built, high quality hunting optic.


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