10 Best Rifle Scopes Under $400 in 2024 – Updated Picks & Guide

As an avid hunter and night vision enthusiast, I’m always on the lookout for quality optics that won’t break the bank. A good rifle scope can make all the difference between a successful hunt and coming home empty-handed. But you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a scope that will serve you well in the field.

I’ve tested dozens of scopes over the years, and in this guide, I’ll share my top picks for the best rifle scopes you can get for under $400 in 2024. These scopes offer an excellent balance of optical quality, durability, and features at a price point that won’t make your wallet cry.

Whether you’re looking for a versatile hunting scope, a long-range target scope, or something in between, I’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in!

1. Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 4-16×44 FFP

Best Overall Rifle Scope Under $400

Vortex continues to impress me with their ability to pack high-end features into affordable packages. The Diamondback Tactical 4-16×44 FFP is my top overall pick for its versatility and performance.

Key Features:

– First focal plane EBR-2C MOA reticle

– 4-16x magnification range

– 44mm objective lens

– Exposed tactical turrets

– Solid one-piece aircraft-grade aluminum construction

I’ve used this scope extensively for both hunting and target shooting out to 600 yards. The glass clarity is excellent for the price, and the first focal plane reticle is a game-changer for precise holdovers at any magnification. 

The exposed turrets track reliably and make on-the-fly adjustments a breeze. I especially appreciate the zero reset feature – just sight in, loosen the turret screws, and reset to zero. Super handy in the field.

At just over 23 ounces, it’s not the lightest scope out there. But the extra weight contributes to its rugged durability. I’ve banged this scope around plenty and it holds zero like a champ.

For under $400, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more capable all-around rifle scope. The Diamondback Tactical punches well above its weight class.

2. Athlon Optics Argos BTR Gen2 6-24×50 FFP

Best Long Range Scope Under $400

If long-range precision is your game, the Athlon Argos BTR Gen2 delivers outstanding performance at a budget-friendly price point. 

Key Features:

– First focal plane APLR2 FFP IR MOA reticle

– 6-24x magnification 

– 50mm objective lens

– Illuminated reticle

– HD glass 

I was skeptical of Athlon at first, being a relatively new brand. But after extensive testing, I’m a believer. The glass quality and light transmission rival scopes costing twice as much.

The FFP reticle is precise and intuitive, with holdover and windage references that stay true at any magnification. Combined with the 6-24x zoom range, this scope lets you confidently engage targets out to 1000 yards and beyond.

One thing to note – at 30 ounces, this is a hefty optic. But that extra mass translates to rock-solid stability, even in windy conditions. The illuminated reticle is also a nice touch for low-light situations.

For precision long range shooting on a budget, the Argos BTR Gen2 is tough to beat. Just be prepared for some extra weight on your rifle.

3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-9×40

Best Value Hunting Scope

Sometimes simple is better. The Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40 is a no-frills hunting scope that just flat-out gets the job done. 

Key Features:

– Dead-Hold BDC reticle

– 3-9x magnification

– 40mm objective lens

– Capped turrets

– Lightweight at 15 ounces

This has been my go-to deer hunting scope for years. The 3-9x magnification range is perfect for most hunting scenarios, and the Dead-Hold BDC reticle provides holdover points without cluttering the sight picture.

What really sets the Crossfire II apart is its exceptional low-light performance. The twilight hour is prime time for big bucks, and this scope gathers light like scopes costing much more. I’ve made clean ethical shots well after sunset thanks to the Crossfire II’s clarity.

The capped turrets keep your zero secure as you move through brush. And at just 15 ounces, you’ll hardly notice it on your rifle during long days afield.

For under $200, the Crossfire II is an absolute steal. It’s the scope I recommend to all my hunting buddies on a budget.

4. Primary Arms SLx 1-6×24 FFP

Best LPVO Under $400 

Low power variable optics (LPVOs) have exploded in popularity for AR-15s and other tactical-style rifles. The Primary Arms SLx 1-6×24 FFP offers premium features at a very attractive price point.

Key Features:

– ACSS Raptor 5.56/.308 first focal plane reticle

– 1-6x magnification

– 24mm objective lens

– Daylight bright illumination 

– Lifetime warranty

I was blown away by the optical quality of this scope the first time I looked through it. The glass is clear and bright, with minimal distortion even at 6x magnification. 

The ACSS Raptor reticle is a work of genius. It provides bullet drop compensation, range estimation, and moving target leads in one intuitive package. And being first focal plane, it’s useful at any magnification.

With a true 1x setting and daylight bright illumination, this scope is as fast as a red dot at close range. Crank it up to 6x and you can precisely engage targets out to 600 yards and beyond.

My only gripe is that the eye box gets a bit tight at 6x. But that’s a small trade-off for the versatility this optic provides. For a do-it-all AR optic under $400, look no further.

5. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40

Best Made-in-USA Scope Under $400

There’s something reassuring about buying American-made optics. The Leupold VX-Freedom carries on Leupold’s legacy of quality at a price point accessible to most shooters.

Key Features:

– Duplex reticle

– 3-9x magnification

– 40mm objective lens

– Twilight Light Management System

– Punisher tested for durability

I’ve always been impressed by Leupold’s attention to detail, and the VX-Freedom is no exception. The glass is crystal clear and the Twilight Light Management System noticeably extends shooting light in the early morning and late evening.

The classic duplex reticle may seem plain compared to some of the fancy BDC options out there. But its simplicity is an asset in high-stress hunting situations. No clutter, just put the crosshairs on target and squeeze.

Leupold’s legendary durability is on full display here. They literally test these scopes by mounting them to the slide of a .308 pistol and mag-dumping. If it can survive that, it can handle anything your hunting rifle dishes out.

Made in Oregon and backed by Leupold’s lifetime guarantee, the VX-Freedom is a scope you can rely on for decades to come.

6. Burris Fullfield E1 3-9×40

Best Ballistic Reticle Scope Under $400

Burris may not have the name recognition of some other brands, but they produce rock-solid optics at reasonable prices. The Fullfield E1 is a prime example.

Key Features:

– Ballistic Plex E1 reticle

– 3-9x magnification

– 40mm objective lens

– Trajectory-compensating reticle 

– Waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof

The standout feature here is the Ballistic Plex E1 reticle. It provides holdover points calibrated to popular hunting cartridges like .243 Win, .308 Win, and .30-06. Just sight in at 100 yards and you’re ready to accurately engage targets out to 500 yards.

I’ve found the optical quality to be on par with scopes costing significantly more. The glass is clear and bright, with good low-light performance for those crucial dawn and dusk hunting hours.

The turrets adjust with positive clicks and hold zero reliably. And Burris’s HiLume lens coatings do an excellent job reducing glare and maximizing light transmission.

For hunters looking for simplified long-range performance without breaking the bank, the Fullfield E1 delivers.

7. Sig Sauer Whiskey3 3-9×40

Best Hunting Scope Under $300

Sig Sauer may be better known for their firearms, but they’ve been making waves in the optics world. The Whiskey3 offers impressive performance at a very accessible price point.

Key Features:

– Quadplex reticle

– 3-9x magnification

– 40mm objective lens

– Low dispersion glass

– Fog-proof and waterproof

I was pleasantly surprised by the optical quality of the Whiskey3. The low dispersion glass provides excellent clarity and color fidelity. And the light transmission is outstanding – I’ve made clean shots well into legal shooting light.

The simple Quadplex reticle is fast and intuitive. No fancy BDC markings to clutter your sight picture. Just put the crosshair on target and squeeze.

One feature I particularly appreciate is the tactile turret adjustments. Each click is distinctly felt, allowing for precise adjustments even with gloves on.

For under $300, the Whiskey3 punches well above its weight class. It’s a scope that will serve you well for years of hunts to come.

8. Bushnell Engage 2.5-10×44

Best Rifle Scope Under $250

Bushnell has long been a go-to brand for budget-conscious shooters. The Engage series takes their game to a whole new level, rivaling scopes costing much more.

Key Features:

– Deploy MOA reticle

– 2.5-10x magnification

– 44mm objective lens

– EXO Barrier lens coating

– Tool-free zero reset turrets

The Deploy MOA reticle is a standout feature, providing useful holdover and windage references without cluttering the sight picture. Combined with the versatile 2.5-10x magnification range, this scope is equally at home for close-range brush hunting or reaching out to 300+ yards.

Bushnell’s EXO Barrier lens coating does an impressive job repelling water, oil, dust, and debris. I’ve used this scope in some nasty conditions and the view stays crystal clear.

The tool-free zero reset turrets are a nice touch. Just sight in, lift the turret, rotate to zero, and push back down. Easy peasy.

At under $250, the Engage offers a feature set that rivals scopes costing twice as much. It’s an excellent choice for hunters on a tight budget.

9. Athlon Optics Talos BTR 4-14×44

Best Target Scope Under $200

Athlon continues to impress me with their ability to pack premium features into budget-friendly packages. The Talos BTR is a prime example, offering long-range precision at a price that won’t break the bank.

Key Features:

– APMR FFP IR MOA reticle

– 4-14x magnification

– 44mm objective lens

– First focal plane reticle

– Exposed tactical turrets

The standout feature here is the first focal plane reticle – a rarity at this price point. This allows for true holdovers at any magnification, a huge asset for long-range shooting.

The glass quality is impressive for a sub-$200 scope. It’s clear and bright, with good light transmission for those crucial low-light hours.

The exposed turrets track reliably and offer a nice tactile click. They’re not quite as precise as some higher-end scopes, but more than adequate for most shooting situations.

For budget-conscious long-range shooters or those just getting into precision rifle, the Talos BTR is hard to beat.

10. Monstrum G2 1-4×24

Best Budget LPVO Under $150

Monstrum may not be a household name, but they’re making waves in the budget optics market. The G2 1-4×24 offers impressive performance at a price that’s almost too good to be true.

Key Features:

– Circle dot reticle

– 1-4x magnification

– 24mm objective lens

– Illuminated reticle (red or green)

– Aircraft-grade aluminum construction

I’ll be honest – I was skeptical of a sub-$150 LPVO. But the G2 pleasantly surprised me. The glass is clear and the 1x setting is true with minimal distortion. Perfect for fast target acquisition up close.

The illuminated circle dot reticle is intuitive and fast. It’s not daylight bright, but works well in most lighting conditions.

Durability has been solid in my testing. The aircraft-grade aluminum body has held up to plenty of bumps and scrapes without losing zero.

Is it on par with high-end LPVOs? Of course not. But for budget-conscious AR builds or as an entry-level optic, the G2 is a stellar value.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Rifle Scope

Intended Use:

Before buying any scope, think carefully about how you’ll primarily use it. Are you mainly hunting whitetails in thick woods? You’ll want something with a lower magnification range and good low-light performance. Planning on long-range target shooting? Look for higher magnification and precise turret adjustments.


More magnification isn’t always better. Higher power scopes have a narrower field of view and are harder to use in close quarters. For most hunting situations, a 3-9x or 4-16x variable scope offers plenty of versatility.

Objective Lens Size:

Larger objective lenses gather more light, improving low-light performance. But they also add weight and bulk to your rifle. A 40-44mm objective lens is a good all-around choice for most hunters.

Reticle Type:

Simple duplex reticles are fast and uncluttered – great for hunting. BDC (bullet drop compensating) reticles provide holdover points for long-range shots. Mil-dot or MOA reticles offer precise aiming points for windage and elevation holds.

Focal Plane:

First focal plane (FFP) reticles grow and shrink as you change magnification, keeping holdovers accurate at all power settings. Second focal plane (SFP) reticles stay the same size, which some shooters find less distracting.

Turret Style:

Capped turrets are great for hunting – they protect your zero from accidental bumps. Exposed tactical turrets allow for quick adjustments on the fly, ideal for long-range shooting.


Look for scopes that are waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. Nitrogen or argon purging helps prevent internal fogging.

Getting the Most Out of Your New Scope

Proper Mounting

Even the best scope is useless if not mounted correctly. Use quality rings or a one-piece mount appropriate for your rifle. Consider having a gunsmith mount and bore sight the scope for optimal performance.

Learn Your Reticle

Spend time studying your reticle and learning its subtensions. Know exactly how much holdover each hash mark represents at different distances.

Create a Dope Card

Record your rifle’s ballistic data at various ranges. This “Data On Previous Engagements” (DOPE) card will be invaluable for making accurate shots in the field.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Dry fire practice at home can help you get comfortable with your new optic. When at the range, practice shooting at various distances and in different positions.

Maintain Your Optic

Keep your lenses clean using proper lens cleaning solution and microfiber cloths. Avoid touching the glass with your fingers. Store your rifle in a climate-controlled environment when possible.

The Best Scope is the One You Use

Remember, the most expensive scope in the world won’t make you a better shooter if you don’t practice. A more modest optic that you actually take to the range regularly will serve you far better.

Don’t be afraid to start with a budget-friendly option as you learn what features matter most to you. You can always upgrade later as your skills and needs evolve.


You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a quality rifle scope. The options on this list prove that you can get excellent optical performance, durability, and features for under $400.

When choosing a scope, consider your specific needs. A deer hunter has different requirements than a long-range target shooter. Think about the distances you’ll be shooting, the lighting conditions you’ll encounter, and the level of precision you require.

No matter your budget or shooting style, one of these scopes is sure to elevate your shooting game. So get out there, mount up a new optic, and enjoy more accurate and enjoyable shooting!

Remember, the best scope is the one you can afford and will actually use. Don’t get caught up in marketing hype or chasing the latest and greatest. Focus on fundamentals, practice regularly, and you’ll be ringing steel and filling tags in no time.

Happy shooting, and I’ll see you out on the range!

Leave a Comment