Vortex Optics Budget Rifle Scopes

5.0 rating

I have used a lot of scopes in the last decade. What I ended up favoring was all from the Vortex company. Here’s what I recommend for the $500 and $130 price ranges.

After a decade of shooting and hunting, it’s still great.

Vortex Viper HS

Here’s a link to it on Amazon

This is a fine scope, and the best you can get for the money. It sells for about $500, depending on the exact configuration. I bought one ten years ago. My brother bought one last month. We’re both happy with our scopes. I actually bought mine used at the time.

My Viper has won several competitions, sliced a ton of bullseyes, and taken it’s fair share of squirrels. I put it on my old DPMS sweet 16; a short, heavy AR in .223 Remington. I can’t say it’s taken a lot of recoil, but it’s been through several ammo cans worth of lead and plenty of times getting dropped and dinged.

I absolutely love it. This is a second focal plane scope. That means that as I zoom in, the reticle doesn’t stay to scale. That makes it tougher to use the reticle for measurements. I’m fine with that because this is a hunting rifle, not a long-distance shooter.

The configuration I like is the 4-16 zoom. 4x is great for general hunting, and the higher magnification makes for fun bullseye shooting. They have options for which reticle you get. I personally like the V-Plex reticle, which is simple and no-frill. My scope has an amazing focus adjustment and parallax adjustment, which increases the accuracy potential quite a bit.

I prefer the 44mm main tube because it’s not too tall and it gathers plenty of light for me. They do make a 50mm tube which helps in low-light conditions. It’s about a hundred dollars more. I like to keep it smaller and compact when possible.

This scope, in my opinion, great for 100-600 yards. The 4x zoom can make it tricky for a 75 yard or closer shot, but that’s how it goes. sometimes.

Young girl holding an AR-15 hunting rifle
This Crossfire II Long eye relief mounts 2 inches further forward than most. It’s for more speedy function.

Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Long Eye Relief

Here’s a link to it on Amazon

I bought one of these last year. This is my favorite budget scope. It sells for around $130, and it’s darn well worth it. I’ve bought other scopes in that price range and was very disappointed. This one did not disappoint. It’s a longer eye relief (distance between your eyes and scope) of about 4 inches. Most scopes are closer to 2. Longer eye relief makes for faster target aquisition and easier focusing.

This Crossfire II has been my go-to scope for testing new calibers the past two years. It’s handled the harsh recoil of 450 Bushmaster, and tons of loads from 350 Legend, 6.5 Grendel, 7.62×39, and a lot of .223 Remington.

Currently, it is on my 30-caliber AR upper. It was intended for deer hunting but I’ve kept it to the range for now. It’s hard to get out hunting much with 5 little tot kids in the house. I’ve shot many groups well under MOA using this scope, and it has very good glass for the money.

The 2-7 zoom makes it quite functional for hunting and for tactical use. At 2 power, it’s fine for shooting close distances or making very fast shots. At 7 power, it’s zoomed in enough to make hunting shots at 300 yards no problem. I am about to get another one of these scopes as a Christmas gift to myself. They’re great, focus well, and are pretty sturdy.

My buddy has one of these on his 350 Legend AR. He loves it but said it felt a bit different at first with the longer eye relief. He’s been taking deer with it for 4 or 5 years. It’s perfect for an unexpected 35-yard shot, and fine enough for 200-300 yards without question.

Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Scout Scope

Here’s a link to it on Amazon

I bought this one in 2016, shortly before getting married. I put it on a Mosin Nagant, which recoils equal to a 30-06. It’s been on that gun for seven years and in that time, has withstood hundreds of heavy-recoil loads, taken several deer and hogs, and traveled the country. I gave that gun to my younger brother in Texas, and he loves it! The accuracy impresses folks at the shooting range constantly.

It is a scout scope, That means that instead of the normal 2 inches from your eye to the scope, you’re going to need closer to 9 inches. It’s mounted further up on the rifle. This used to be more for old military rifles that needed funky scope mounts. Now it’s quite popular among the AR crowd. I wouldn’t hesitate to put it on any solid forward rail AR. I know some don’t like that.

As far as the Mosin Nagant, it’s the best scope for the job. I used the Jordy Buck Mosin-Mount method to get it on there. it’s solid and secure, right over the original rear dovetail.

The Scout Scope allows for clearer vision, faster target acquisition, and a wider margin of eye relief. With 9 inches of eye relief, it’s twice as fast to get a target picture through than any other scope I own or have ever used. They Make it with a 2-7 variable power zoom, which really aids to the speed of function. For close-range hunting, 2x zoom is amazing. For a few hundred yards, 7x is enough to kill a deer or hog.

This is the scope I recommend most for an AR with an extended rail, as most are nowadays.

Jordan Buck

Jordan Buck is an outdoor writer, a man of faith, and a family man. He grew up hunting, fishing, and trapping. Jordan has taught marksmanship, woodsmanship, and self-defense classes. He has earned black belts in four martial arts and is a certified Krav Maga instructor. He also runs his own Gun Blog and YouTube Channel. Jordan enjoys giving his time and resources to help others and has spent 15 years volunteering in a boy's mentoring program He is and will always be an American Patriot. MOLON LABE

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