Top 10 Best Air Rifle Scope for 2018: Buyer’s Guide
Whoever handles and shoots any firearm must admit that accuracy is the essential feature of every short or long barreled gun. The quantum leap in sighting advancement was telescopic sight mounted on a shoulder-held weapon 150 ago.
Today, this optical enhancement on an airgun will also allow user more comfortable target viewing, easier shot placement, and more enjoyable experience.
However, in order to avoid the costly mistake of assuming that all riflescopes are the same, you should have been acquainted with the fact that most of the airguns require dedicated optics with some features that make an air rifle scope unique and different from a mainstream firearm scope.
There are different types of airguns depending on options of power delivery, and while some subsets of airguns are more or less ideal when used with optics, rifles with a break barrel designs are entirely inaccurate and make a riflescope quite challenging to use.
On the other side, the precharged pneumatic or simply CO2 powered rifles can be used with whatever scope you desire, but a fixed-barrel spring pneumatic style guns require only airgun rated scopes that have to be anchored in order to handle the double, two-way recoil of a spring airgun.
Unlike the firearms, airguns of the same caliber have literally twice the amount of recoil generated by the mainspring. Actually, the recoil and unique vibration in a spring air rifle are different, causing an airgun to recoil backwards and forward while powder-burning rifles only recoil in a backward direction. This two-direction recoil can be disastrous for standard firearm riflescopes.
Except for operational mechanism, airguns are made in different calibers with different performances. Therefore, you will need an appropriate scope for each caliber since in the airgun scope world motto one size fits all - is no good solution.
You don’t alarm the neighbors when you fire it. But it’s a lot more fun if you can hit your targets consistently, and for that you need the best air rifle scope for your needs.
Magnification & OL
Nikon ProStaff 2-7 x 32 Black Matte Riflescope (Nikoplex)
2-7 x 32
33.4 feet @ 100 yards (2x), 9.5 feet @ 100 yards (7x)
Burris Scout Rifle Scope 2-7x 32mm Ballistic Plex Reticle
Ballistic Plex reticle
Feet @ 100 yards): 21-7 Click Value @ 100 yards: 1/4
Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Mil Dot Reticle Riflescope (4.5-14x44-mm)
Mil Dot Reticle
ft@100yds/m@firstname.lastname@example.org / 6@14x
Hammers 3-9x32AO Air Rifle Scope Review
BARSKA 3-12×40 AO Airgun Scope
UTG 3-9×40 AO Mil-Dot Scope Review
Winchester Air Rifle Scope 2-7x32 AOScopeReview
2-7 x 32
UTG 4×32 1”inch Hunter Scope Mil-Dot Air Rifle Scopefor 35 Yards
Crosman CP392RG Centerpoint 3-9×32
39 ft (@100 yds)
CVLIFE Tactical 3-9×40 Air Rifle Scope Review
The 10 Best Value Air Rifle Scopes
Seriously, there’s no need to overspend on scopes just so you can get a good one. After all, these scopes are meant for air rifles instead of rifles.
So their range is limited and you don’t need to get a scope that can help you pick out targets at 1,200 yards. You have to be more realistic about what you can do with your air rifle.
Besides, air rifles are generally more affordable than standard rifles. It stands to reason that the scopes they need should be much less expensive too.
Score: 4.6 Andrew Garfield
The first proposal comes from Nikon, and it is a member of the ProStaff series recommended for rifles, youth rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders and even airguns.
The entire ProStaff riflescope series offers feature-loaded value and the additional light transmission levels in its class, ensuring maximum brightness from dawn to dusk.
The ProStaff optical system with its fully multi-coated lenses is superior in low light conditions, offering more than enough light transmission and clarity for most hunters and shooters during all day.
- As one of the best air rifle scopes in a middle-price range category, Nikon ProStaff has only a few trivial flaws such as the very thick outer edge of the image when looking through the scope, or low-quality scope cover.
This scope is perfect for anyone looking for plinking and cleaning out nuisance rodents around the house. Indeed, this 11.2" long 12 ounces weight riflescope is a reasonably trim and lightweight scope making it a perfect choice for compact rifles of many different types.
The size and power of this 2-7x32 model suit to a large cross-section of air rifles ranging from precharged pneumatic to spring piston airguns.
Score: 5 Andrew Garfield
The next scope comes from a Burris, a trusted name in the industry of gun sights and other related optics. Burris Scout Rifle Scope belongs to the specific niche of scopes primarily intended for use on scout rifles.
Whereas the traditional scopes feature eye distance 3-4 inches, scout scopes longer eye relief, usually in the range of 9-11 inches, defines the scout scope optics.
Although target air rifles do not need a scout scope, for you who plan to use an airgun in hunting the Burris Scout scope will take you to another level.
Because you will maintain situational awareness since the long-eye relief makes it easier to focus on multiple targets using both eyes open.
- By the reviewers, the biggest issue is that Scout scope does not come with the mounting rings or lens caps. As far as there are no serious complaints, except the thin reticle lines, are hard to pick up against a darker background.
It is a fact that scout scopes are differing from traditional riflescopes and the user will need some time to get used to the scout style optics with theirs lengthened eye relief.
However, after short familiarization period, this variable, lower powered optic will be ideal for pest airgun hunting allowing a wider field of view while tracking a moving target.
Score: 4.3 Andrew Garfield
The legendary Bushnell released its economy-class Legend Ultra HD line of scopes in 2012 to be used in a variety of environments for a variety of purposes.
The Bushnell Ultra HD 4 dynamic 4.5x to 14x magnification range is the largest riflescope in this mid-range price category, providing versatility for targets up close or at long range, especially at dawn and dusk.
Unlike the older Legend models with adjustable objective, a parallax adjustment is placed on the third turret on the left scope`s body side with increments starting from 20 yards to infinity, which is very good for utilizing on an airgun.
Another benefit with air rifles in mind is mil-dot reticle in the Legend scope, making it the perfect companion for any airgun hunter.
By many people, as the most accurate type of reticle for hunting, Mil-Dot when paired with 3.6” eye relief, ED Prime glass and fully multi-coated optics make the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD riflescope an entirely comparable to many of the highest quality scopes on the market.
- Reading numerous reviews, we have found one shortcoming referring to the tracking issues and inconsistent amount of movement per click for both windage and elevation adjustments.
Another fault of this scope is the small issue of the turrets being set to MOA (Minute of Angle) measurements instead of the Mil-Dot reticle included in this scope.
Whether you choose to put Legend Ultra HD on your air rifle, rimfire or centerfire and use that combo in the harshest hunting environments, the Legend HD’s brightness and clarity would exceed your expectations at a very affordable price.
The Bushnell's Legend is a little heavier than its competitors are, but at a weight of 19.2 ounces, this riflescope is almost perfect for ethical hunting of little varmint and pests in your backyard.
Score: 4.2 Andrew Garfield
This scope measures 12.75 inches long, and it has an anodized black matte finish. It fits into a ⅜-inch dovetail groove or rail. It has a 1-piece mount with 3 clamping screws along with a built-in stop pin.
The magnification ranges from 3x to 9x which should allow for some versatility in uses. It also comes with a mil-dot reticle that’s very easy to see even with darker backgrounds. It also offers an adjustable objective feature to deal with parallax.
Score: 4 Andrew Garfield
Here, the magnification range goes all the way to 12x and the objective lens size is bigger. You’d think that this will cause the price to get much nearer to $100, but you’d be wrong. It’s more expensive than the Hammers by just a few dollars more.
Here you have fully coated optics for a clearer image. That’s true even for the 9x and 12x magnification. You have an adjustable objective lens that helps with parallax. You can also make your adjustments easily without using a tool.
It helps with the image clarity that the objective lens is large at 40mm, and it’s both waterproof and fog proof. Also, it comes with extra-rigid construction that makes it shockproof as well.
It uses the mil-dot reticle too. Again, that’s easier to see and also able to help with elevation and wind factors.
Score: 4.4 Andrew Garfield
Now this one is substantially more expensive than the first 2 on this list. It’s probably not a coincidence that it has received far fewer complaints about build quality.
It’s generally highly regarded. The magnification is 3x to 9x, which should suit the needs of most people. What’s great is that it has a 40mm objective lens, so you get more illumination and the image is much brighter.
It also helps that the lenses are emerald coated for greater image clarity. This is shockproof, and it features Picatinny/Weaver rings. Since it is completely sealed and filled with nitrogen, it’s also fog proof and waterproof.
The mil-dot reticle is here again, and you can adjust for windage and elevation with ¼ MOA clicks. The parallax can also be adjusted from 5 yards out.
Finally, it uses a special Illumination Enhancing (IE) System to keep things clear, while it also has 36 colors in multicolor mode.
Score: 4.5 Andrew Garfield
Why pay more for 9x magnification when you don’t really need it anyway? With this scope, you pay a lot less (less than $40, in fact) and yet you get 2x to 7x magnification for target practice at much closer distances.
What’s also a great boon for buyers is that the manufacturer (Daisy Outdoor Products) is well-known for its attention to quality, reliability, and durability.
Here it has duplex crosshairs, and the 32mm objective lens is good enough to add brightness even for 7x magnification. Everything is well-made, mounting it is easy enough, and it holds zero very well. It’s very lightweight too.
There’s adjustment for elevation and windage, as well as for parallax down to 5 yards. It’s shockproof and fogproof, and there’s color collection to boot. Even the rear eyepiece is adjustable.
Score: 4.2 Andrew Garfield
Now this is a much more affordable UTG scope. That’s because it only comes with 4x magnification. The mil-dot reticle is also preset for 35 yards, so you have to adjust on your own for different distances.
However, the scope does offer adjustments for wind and elevation. With the 2 dovetail scope rings, mounting shouldn’t be a problem for many air guns. However, if you have a weaver style rail you’ll have to buy separate rings.
Score: 4.1 Andrew Garfield
Here’s another mid-priced option with features that are certainly not middling at all. First you have a magnification range from 3x to 9x, and that’s certainly good enough up to 50 yards out. You can also easily adjust the dials for wind and elevation adjustment.
This is a 1-piece tube, and it comes with the standard dovetail scope-mount rings. The lenses are multicoated, and the cope is proofed against water, fogging, and shock.
This also has a mil-dot reticle, and it’s dual-illuminated so you have red and green reticles for low lighting conditions.
Score: 4 Andrew Garfield
At first glance, the features and the price don’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. How can it have up to 9x magnification with a large 40mm objective lens, while its price is much closer to $20? What’s the catch?
It remains perplexing when you find out that this mounts easily enough with both weaver and picatinny rails. You get 2 free rail mounts that suits a 0.79-inch rail.
This feels very solid too, as it’s an all-metal build. It’s shockproof, as well as waterproof and fogproof. But it only weighs just 0.76 pounds. The multicoated glass is scratchproof, and offer clear and well-lit images with good contrast. The duplex reticle works well enough too.
Factors to Consider Before Buy Scopes For Air Rifles
When you buy a scope, you’ll need to do some extra dedicated research on Google to see that the scope can actually be used for the type of air rifle you have. Once that’s done, you’ll also need to take a look at the following factors:
Magnification and Objective Lens size
This is denoted by numbers like 4x32. In this case, the 4 is the magnification power and it’s fixed to make thing 4 times nigger (or closer). The 32 is the size in mm of the objective lens, or the lens that’s farther away from your eye.
The magnification power can also be adjustable, so you may get something like 3-9x32. This means the magnification can range from 3x to 9x. Since you’re using an air rifle, you don’t really expect to hit targets from more than 600 yards away.
That means you don’t need much magnification power. For most people 4x can suffice, while 12x is the maximum. As for the objective lens size, a larger size offers more illumination to compensate for the darker image a higher magnification produces.
You don’t really need too large of a lens since you’re dealing with low magnification anyway, and besides, the larger lens can add too much weight that can throw off your aim.
It’s not easy to describe “parallax” to someone who hasn’t really encountered this optical phenomenon. The effect comes in when you move your head a bit and the target seems to move.
It’s like looking at something in front of you with one eye, and then the other eye. It’s the same effect when you look through a scope and you move your head just a little bit.
Parallax is a problem because it can throw off your aim. To correct for this, there’s often a parallax adjustment knob that you can turn. This is called AO, or adjustable objective.
This is just a fancy name for crosshairs, because nowadays they may not resemble hairs at all. The traditional fine crosshair is still common, since the reticle doesn’t cover much of the target at all.
On the other hand, it’s easy to lose track of the reticle when you’re deep in the wood. That’s solved by the duplex reticle, which starts with thicker crosshair lines from the edges so you can find them more easily.
The crosshair in the center part is still fine so you can see the target. Finally, there’s the mil-dot reticle. This is like the duplex reticle except you have dots along the fine cross hairs.
With these dots, you can use them to compensate for a different range as well as for strong winds that can affect the trajectory of your bullet. The dots are also much easier to see than the fine crosshairs.
Scopes offer a variety of mounting options that can keep it in place. You need mounts with stop plates or pins to keep the mounts in place. Your mount can be a 1-piece design or you can use 2 scope rings.
The 2 scope rings are less expensive, and for the most part they work very well. The 1-piece mounts are more expensive, though in the long run they’re much more stable.
Many cheap scopes can fog, so you may want to look for fogproofing features. If you don’t want to worry about the rain, you’ll need waterproofing. Shockproofing is also important so that you don’t have to worry about the effect of the recoil or any impacts on the scope.
For an air gun don’t really need to spend more than a thousand bucks for a good scope. In fact, we already have a list of the best air rifle scopes that cost under $100.
What’s the Difference between a Scope for a Rifle and for an Air Rifle?
If you want to be accurate when you’re shooting from farther away, then yes you need one.
It helps you hit your paper targets when you’re practicing your shooting, and a scope can make you more accurate when it’s time to get rid of that darn rodent around your house once and for all.
The problem is that standard rifle scopes are comparatively much more delicate. That’s because a rifle scope is designed to withstand only the single recoil that a regular rifle produces.
On the other hand, firing an air rifle causes recoil when you release the piston or spring, and another instance of recoil occurs in the opposite direction once that piston or spring is fully extended.
So there’s a lot more shaking with an air rifle, and a regular scope isn’t equipped to handle that. But an air rifle scope can.
All these options show that you can get good quality scopes without spending too much money. The best air rifle scope can be both affordable and high quality.
Put on any of these scopes and see just how much more accurate your shots can become at greater distances. You’ll win target shooting contests with friends, while you can hit vermin with greater confidence. As long as you use them properly, you’ll get the accuracy you want.
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