Welcome to this review on rifle scopes. Last year, I chose a high-end rifle scope (with a luxury price tag.) No matter what I did, the sight was blurry, and the aim wasn’t true.
At that point, I realized there wasn’t enough info out there about rifle scopes. This review is here to help you choose the best rifle scope under $100.
Our Top Choice
The Bushnell Banner is my top choice because it’s not overly fancy and gets the job done. I also like the construction being fog-proof and waterproof, so you can take it anywhere.
The 7 Best Rifle Scopes Under $100
Everyone wants a reliable and durable scope, and this one fits the bill. It’s fog-proof and waterproof, so it works in any weather or lighting conditions.
This 9x32mm rifle scope was just what I needed when I was out hunting at night. With its emerald-coated lenses, you get maximum light transmission and crystal-clear views. It makes for an accurate shot every single time.
Another excellent feature here is the zero-resettable and zero-lockable target turrets. You can easily adjust them with your fingers to help you stay on target. The illuminated reticle is what does the job for you here, so you don’t need an extra flashlight.
If you’re like me, you hate that uncomfortable recoil you get when you shoot. This rifle scope gives you longer eye relief to avoid this issue.
I’m surprised that it’s completely nitrogen-filled and sealed to be shockproof. Plus, you can change the illumination to red or green for optimal shooting and aiming performance.
Plastic construction in many areas
Hard to zero
The Bushnell brand is a leader when it comes to riflescope technology. Its Banner 3-9×40 Rifle Scope is the perfect example. I like that it includes multi-coated optics with the fog-proof and waterproof construction. That way, it’s ready for any hunting trip you might take.
You want a design that works well in any lighting, and the Bushnell Banner excels in the later evening and early morning hours. It features Dawn & Dusk Brightness technology, so you can adjust it to meet your specific needs. This way, you have incredible brightness and clarity, even in low-light settings. Those who like to hunt before the sun comes up or after it’s gone down are sure to appreciate this feature.
It is solidly built, too. As a one-piece tube, it’s filled with nitrogen to work in all conditions. Plus, the eyepiece can quick-focus, allowing you to move fast to get the kill.
Long eye relief
Clear at close range
Mounts easily with provided instructions
Blurs at max magnification
Simmons 22 Mag
I’ve used the Simmons 22 Mag before, and I like that it’s got the brand’s patented TrueZero adjustment system with the Quick Target Acquisition eyepiece. You get unparalleled performance with this rifle scope.
In a sense, the TrueZero and QTA systems replace the more traditional biasing and gimbal spring design. The Simmons 22 Mag uses a flex erector system instead, which solidly attaches to the body of the rifle scope. That way, you get unmatched stability.
Within the dial design, you get a spring detent and ball bearing system, which allows you to hear the audible and firm click. You’ve got sheer confidence that the adjustment you made is repeatable and accurate.
Another feature I like is the QTA eyepiece. I briefly discussed it earlier, but this new eyepiece design provides you with 4 inches of eye relief. You don’t have to close in on the riflescope to get the magnification you need. It also has a bigger eye-box within the full magnification range so you can see horizontally, vertically, and backward/forward movement.
I’ve got to end with the HydroShield Lens Coating to give you a clear sight, even in poor weather conditions.
Holds a zero accurately
Can use fingers to adjust knobs
Slightly mushy elevation and windage adjustments
CVLIFE Tactical Rife Scope
Have you ever been out in full sunlight and wished you had a shade for your scope? The CVLIFE Tactical Rifle Scope comes with a sunshade to prevent glare while you’re shooting in daylight. It also helps to keep the water away from the lens during rainfall. I like that the sunshade is simple to install because you just screw it to the sunshade in front of your objective.
An excellent feature that is going to help you is the zero-locking. The W/E are both locked for the scope. When you push down the adjustment knob, it locks, and you can’t rotate it. This prevents accidental movements so that you don’t lose zero. You may need to adjust elevation and windage at times, so you just pull up the knob.
Another great feature is the zero-resetting option. Zero should be the locked position. You get an Allen wrench to help you turn the hex screw on the zero-resetting knob. This allows you to reposition your “0” marketing for the right center position.
I’m impressed with the dioptric adjustment lens built directly into the ocular. This could have helped me because I’m nearsighted, and most rifle scopes don’t adjust for that. Whether near- or farsighted, you can find a clear image without having to wear glasses.
With the machined focusing cam, you get a precise view from 15 yards away to infinity. There’s moderate damping on the focus component to help it work accurately and quickly. Plus, the reticle illumination comes in green and red to use in almost any condition.
Easy to zero and sight
Looks like high-end models
Clear optic and fully adjustable
No smooth operation of locking mechanisms
Tight and hard to turn focus/parallax adjustments
Twod Rifle Scope
I don’t consider myself to be a gear snob, but I know what I like and buy it. When I first learned of the Twod Rifle Scope, I was leery. It seems like you get a lot for so little, but it impressed me against my will.
The lenses are multi-coated, and the scope itself is hard-anodized to feel good and solid in the hand. It’s not going to get scratched, even if you’re a little rough with your toys (and who isn’t?) I like that it’s nitrogen-purged and O-ring sealed, giving you a fog-proof and waterproof performance. To protect the lens, you also get a lens cover. You think this should be mandatory, but sadly it often isn’t.
There’s also a heavy-duty scope ring to help you mount it to the 20mm weaver rail. This does limit its effectiveness if you have a wider weaver rail or a Picatinny one. However, it works for the rifles that I use often.
You get five different color intensities in red and green. That way, you can get your prey in the crosshairs and send out a red or green dot, depending on the lighting of the day and your needs. The eyepiece adjustment is in the front, so you can accurately and quickly change the illumination levels. This function requires a CR2032 battery, which comes with the scope.
Holds zero for over 100 rounds and multiple trips
Takes time to find zero
Sniper MT3 Hunting Rifle Scope
As a hunter, I look for streamlined things that have a solid construction and feature a sleek appearance. The Sniper MT3 Hunting Rifle Scope hits all three marks.
You get red and green illumination colors with a Mil-Dot reticle. The button operation here allows you to quickly reach it and change it to your preference. As the sun is going down or coming up, this is a helpful feature.
I liked that this riflescope offers a color memory function, so it remembers the last color you used. If you often hunt at the same time, this is a great feature to have. Plus, the auto-off saves the battery and helps it last much longer.
The multi-coated lens helps to fight reflections and glare, but it also maximizes light transmission. Therefore, you get the clarity and brightness from edge to edge. Add to it the QTA (Quick Turret Adjustment), and you can adjust the elevation and windage markings as necessary.
With the nitrogen-purged body and the O-ring to seal it completely, this riflescope is fully fog-proof and waterproof.
Clear glass to let in plenty of light
Easy to adjust elevation/windage turrets
Too-small Mil-Dots – unsuitable for range estimation
A lot of light bleed when activating illumination
Monstrum Rifle Scope
The Monstrum Rifle Scope is highly reliable and works for tactical needs. Whether you’re in close or mid-range, you can shoot accurately with crystal clear optics and three to nine times the magnification.
I like that this scope features a functional Rangefinder reticle, which helps you estimate ranges faster and correct holdovers easily. Plus, nitrogen is inside the scope tube and sealed to resist fog and water.
This particular scope has ¼-inch adjustments for elevation and windage. You get capped turrets, which provide an audible click as you move the dials.
You’re going to appreciate the illuminated reticle, which allows you to view things with a green or red tint. There are multiple intensities for brightness, but you can also view it with no illumination. This way, you get the best sight picture possible, regardless of the environment or lighting.
Another great feature of this scope is the adjustable objective lens. You can move the parallax dial to adjust for a sharper target image, eliminate parallax, and estimate the range you require.
Easy to zero
Secures quickly to the rifle
Excellent visibility and field of view
Soft scope rings
What to Look for in a Cheap Rifle Scope
When looking to purchase a rifle scope, there are certain things to consider. First, you’ve got to define your particular needs and know what you want the rifle scope to do for you.
Typically, you can find classic and fixed 4x magnification scopes, and they’re quite common for basic rifles. However, the variable 3-9x scopes are ideal, and most of the scopes I talked about earlier are of this variety. With shots less than 100 yards away, you can shoot just about anything. Sometimes, you can find higher variations of scope levels from 2.5 to 10x, but they often aren’t necessary for regular shooting needs.
All riflescopes include a main tube. The size ranges in diameters of 25mm, 34mm, or 30mm, and this depends on the brand and type. Usually, larger tubes have more features and range adjustment options, which is essential for long-distance shooting. However, they also require more housing, are heavier, and need different mounting rings.
Modern scopes use argon or nitrogen inside them to prevent fogging. They’re shockproof and waterproof, too.
The Objective lens is the one at the end of your scope and transmits light. When the objective lens is bigger, more light can go into the score and give you better performance, even in low-light conditions. The number behind the ‘x’ tells you the OL size. For example, with a 3-9×32, your magnification is anywhere from three to nine times, and the objective lens is 32mm in diameter. With a bigger objective lens, you see a clearer and brighter image.
You don’t always need a larger objective lens. In fact, this may cause you to mount the riflescope much higher. This can cause issues with eye and scope alignment, as well as cheek weld issues. Make sure that you mount the rifle scope as low as can be where the objective bell isn’t touching the barrel. Usually, a multi-layer coating protects the lenses and provides maximum brightness.
Some of the reviews mentioned eye relief, and I thought it might be good to include a section on it. This feature is important for those who use guns with high recoils. Whenever you put the scope to eye level so that you can see through it, there’s still some distance between your eye and the ocular lens. That’s called eye relief.
Typically, this is about 4 inches away, but others offer up to 6 inches. You need to know your rifle well to determine if it has significant recoil or not. It doesn’t hurt to always choose a 6-inch eye relief, but you can get away with 4 inches at times.
Focal Plane and Reticle
Typically, you go with a standard “Duplex” reticle, which is sufficient for many conditions. However, varmint shooters and long-range competitors could need a fine crosshair. The placement of the reticle is also important. If it’s located in the first focal plane, that means it uses the same perspectives regarding target size, no matter the magnification range. With it in the second focal plane, the target gets bigger with the same size reticle.
Parallax is the optical illusion, and it increases with magnification to provide you a larger error margin at high power. You must adjust it each time, though some scopes automatically do this for you.
Turrets and Adjustments
Elevation and windage knobs, often called turrets, are to the right and top of the scope. It helps with horizontal/vertical adjustments. You want something reliable with an audible click so that you know you’ve changed it without having to stop and look at the turret.
How Do I Clean My Rifle Scope?
It’s quite easy to clean a riflescope because they’re shockproof, fog-proof, and waterproof, so they can take a decent beating. A little dirt or debris isn’t going to hurt, but you should keep gun cleaning powders and solvents away from the lens. I always recommend that people buy lens caps or use the ones that come with the scope. Also, try not to touch the scope with your fingers and use a microfiber cloth to get rid of any smudges and dirt.
How Do I Maintain a Riflescope?
Inspect the scope after every hunt and look for cracks or corrosion. If you have any issues, try using the warranty on the scope if there is one. Since this review is full of inexpensive riflescopes, you can easily buy a new one if yours has issues after a few years.
Should I Use a Variable or Fixed Riflescope?
The riflescopes I talked about today are all variable, and this tells you that it’s what I prefer. Zoom or variable options are versatile and have a minimum/maximum magnification level. This helps you shoot at different ranges. They do take a little work to adjust and get just right, but the effort pays for itself when accuracy helps you with the kill.
You now know a lot about riflescopes, and I hope you’re ready to pick your favorite. My pick here is the Bushnell Banner because I like the streamlined appearance it gives. I like the DDB technology that provides more brightness and clarity in low light. With the eye-relief feature and the quick-focus eyepiece, you can hunt almost anything with precision.
Though it doesn’t offer illumination, the Dawn & Dusk Brightness technology more than makes up for it. Use this scope on your next hunt, and you can enjoy the difference it provides.