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You have got the best type of air rifle and the right type of ammo to fill the slot. You’re set to head out into the fields as well as woods.
Well, all that time and labor need one final thing to confirm an accurate shot.
It’s time to hunt for the best air rifle scope to make sure you head in the right direction.
There are several choices, but you have to make sure you have an air rifle scope that gives you the value you deserve along with the features you are after.
Below, I cover the top six scopes for air rifles I found perfect for hunting season.
Why Use a Scope with Your Air Rifle
Before we jump into judging the best-rated scopes let’s know exactly what the term means.
Any true sportsman knows that he must have a quality rifle scope to improve his hunting experience.
The elementary purpose of a scope is to let the user see better and farther than they would with the bare eye.
The scope expands the target and its surroundings. Even lower quality rifles are significantly better when used with good scopes.
A bad scope, on the other hand, leads to a frustrating experience because your shots will never land where you want them to go.
Air rifle scopes are designed specifically for air rifles since they can handle the extra vibration and double recoil that can shake apart gun optics.
The 6 Best Air Rifle Scopes for Hunting
Best Overall Air Rifle Scope – BSA 3-9×40 Sweet 22 Rifle Scope
BSA is the brand that will always stay as one of the best brands whenever the topic is about a decent air rifle scope.
The BSA Sweet 22 scope is the same, and it meets people’s expectation by providing optimum accuracy and clear images.
The turret system makes the usability very advanced and easy.
The parallax adjustments are on the side, and also there is multi-grain turret available for if you need to swap projectile weights.
The scope is proudly fog, shock, and, most importantly, waterproof. It is very well capable of surviving in rough situations or climates.
The lens is 40 mm which gives you a very decent field-of-view for finding your game when hunting.
Also, the camera-quality glass makes sure you enjoy a clear image.
It offers 3 to 9ine times magnification, making it one of the most suitable rifle scopes to use for both short and long-distance shootings.
There is also a lifetime warranty.
With a sunshade, lens cap, and advanced features, this model from BSA makes a prominent presence on the list.
- Suitable for any weather
- Metal caps available
- Useful turret adjustments such as parallax and projectile weight
- The crosshair is thick.
- Relatively heavy (but still not a chonk of a scope)
Best Compact Air Rifle Scope – UTG 3-9×32 1″ BugBuster Scope
The UTG BugBuster is another product from a brand that has gained attention for its efficiency on the field.
It has several great features for hunting in the woods. It has an emerald coating for great light transmission and is shorter than most similar scopes.
The scope has a nitrogen-filled body that’s also fogproof, rainproof, and shockproof.
The turrets are lockable and can be reset so you can adjust for elevation and windage in the field without losing your zero.
Turret adjustments rates are in ¼ MOA clicks, which is great optimal shot placement.
Mil-dots allow you to shoot at far ranges even without fiddling with the turrets, too.
Parallax can be adjusted from 3 yards to infinity.
It comes with a 2″ sunshade, quick-detach, and a flip-open lens cap.
- A durable scope that is built to be used roughly
- The QD rings are solid
- Compact form factor but still good for forest use
- Finicky eye relief
Best Long Range Air Rifle Scope – Hawke Sports Optics Sidewinder 6.5-20×30
The Hawke Sidewinder TAC 30 6.5-20X42 is a mixed bag that offers lots of features but isn’t for everyone.
It is huge and a bit hefty. But the 42 mm objective will mostly provide vivid, clear pictures.
The magnification is 6.5x to 20x. which is very convenient for long-range shooting.
The durability standards are up to the mark according to most users it’s very accurate for the money.
You can use this scope in any light situations comfortably thanks to the nitrogen purged body and multicoated lenses. Adjustments are quite easy and user-friendly.
The flexibility to perform in woods outstands most other scopes in a similar price range which I found amazing.
The green or red illuminated mil-dot reticle makes targeting simple and hassle-free most of the time.
Related: 2023‘s Quietest Air Rifles
- Thin mil-dot reticle is great for long-distance shots
- Strong magnification
- Heavy and a poor choice for close-range hunting
Most Versatile Air Rifle Scope – UTG 4-16×44 AO 30mm Scope
The next airgun scope from UTG is a good choice for both close-range hunting and for those longer shots because of its 4-16×44 magnification.
Much like the earlier scope, this one has lockable and resettable windage and elevation turrets plus a side parallax turret.
However, this scope is longer, starts at 4x magnification, and goes up to 12x zoom. And the parallax adjustment starts at 10 yards.
It’s great for target and varmint shooters though it’s still good at ranges as close as 10 yards.
Related: Benjamin Trail NP2 Air Rifle Review
The MOA adjustment per click is ¼, which means a single click moves the pellet a quarter inch at a hundred yards.
The quality of lenses provides a completely undistorted image so you can be sure to have a lively picture of your prey to make that perfect shot.
The scope also resists water, shock, and fog, making it suitable for tough hunting situations.
- Great features for the price
- 4x to 16x magnification available
- Quite heavy and long
Best Air Rifle Scope for Beginners – Winchester by Daisy Outdoor Products 4×32 AO
Daisy is a well-known name for airguns and they teamed up with Winchester to produce an inexpensive entry-grade scope.
But it doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the money.
If you are a beginner hunter, then this scope will suit your basic requirements and help you become more comfortable shooting with a magnified optic.
There are turrets for adjusting both windage and elevation, of course. The objective lens is adjustable as well so you can always get a clear image.
The reticle is a simple crosshair without mil-dots or target-ranging hash marks.
The Winchester Model 813 is also shock-resistant so it can take a few hard knocks.
You don’t get an adjustable magnification with this scope. However, this eliminates a weak point in the scope’s construction, keeping the price down.
4x is good for most air rifle ranges anyway.
Most buyers are very pleased with this budget-friendly simple and sleek scope.
- Easy to use without excessive, confusing features
- Simple construction keeps the scope tough
- You’ll want to upgrade the scope rings
Best Illuminated Air Rifle Scope – UTG 3-12X44 30mm AO 36-Color Compact Scope
Various weather conditions can make traditional reticles hard to see and the traditional red or green illumination colors may not always be the best color choices.
UTG’s 36-color compact scope eliminates this possibility.
This scope is very similar to the prior UTG compact scope I covered.
However, there’s one big difference:
It includes UTG’s EZ-Tap IE Illumination System so you can quickly choose between 36 different colors!
You can select between various colors, from the traditional red, green, and blue, to more exotic (and easy to see) options such as magenta and cyan.
You’ll enjoy the compact design, wide magnification variety, and easy-to-use adjustments.
However, when you use the included heavy-duty rings, this scope weighs a whopping 1.5 pounds!
- All of the advantages of the above UTG compact scope
- Excellent illumination system with 36 different, high-visibility colors
- Surprisingly heavy for its small size
Best Air Rifle Scope Buying Guide
Before making an air rifle scope purchase, you need to ask yourself a few questions.
- What features does it offer to you?
- How much is the cost?
- Is it compatible with the air gun you own?
- Will it serve for a long time or break after just a few uses?
- How much magnification does it provide?
There’s a lot to check.
Sometimes, it doesn’t have to be the most expensive optics that wins, but the one that makes a first-class fit to your needs.
As soon as you make your mind to get a scope you also need to consider you know all the important factors of buying an air rifle scope.
Here’s everything you need to know.
One thing to reflect when buying an air rifle scope is what you are going to be using it for.
Are you going to have it as an air pellet gun to hunt minor game?
Maybe you only want it target shooting.
In either case, you need to make sure you buy a scope that will make you precise and fits your shooting needs.
For example, a field hunter will appreciate a sunshade, whereas a woods hunter may prefer a more compact scope.
Related: The 10 Best Air Pistols of 2023
Ask yourself, how much magnification is needed?
The answer is made easy when you determine the range at which you’ll be shooting.
Generally speaking, the higher the magnification, the smaller the field of view. So, highly-magnified scopes can make it difficult to track a moving target.
However, the smaller your target, the more magnification you want.
For example, varmint hunting regularly requires high magnification to make accurate shots at long-range.
Numerous competition shooters enjoy the benefits of extreme magnification for placing correct and award-winning shots.
Dense underbrush or hills makes for close-range shots, for which the regular 3x to 9X scope is sufficient.
That’s why the old “gold standard” for rifle scope magnification, at least for deer shooting, is 3x to 9x.
These days, though, it is becoming more usual for hunters to be using higher magnification levels, up to 20x. And this applies to air rifle hunters, too!
But don’t get caught up in this hype. Higher magnification is not always essential or even beneficial. There is such an entity as overkill.
It takes great attention to not only pick the correct scope for the rifle itself but to also pick the appropriate scope for the mission it will be used for.
Over magnification can delay a good shot and, at close range, make it difficult to even find your target.
And don’t forget that larger magnifications transmit less light, so hunting around dawn or dusk benefits from using a lower-magnification scope.
A lot of importance goes into personal preference, but shooting location can be even more important.
Scope Mounting Rings
Scopes have to be attached to your air rifle. This is why most scopes come with mounting rings.
This isn’t tricky nowadays but to save time, bother, and cost in returning improper mounts to the seller, it’s good to get it correct the first time.
There are two things you have to know:
- Scope height
- How the rings attach to your air rifle
In many circumstances, you may find the scope and rings sold together.
In these situations, you can be certain that they will fit the scope, but you still have to be sure that they will be able to attach to your airgun.
If not then you’ll have to ask the dealer if they can exchange for another type.
Most modern scope rings are designed to fit Picatinny rails, which are themselves common.
Some are made to fit Weaver rails. Weaver mount bases have a slot similar to those on Picatinny rails but there are slight dimensional differences.
Still, many scope rings are sized to be able to fit Weaver rails as well, so you’ll see “Picatinny / Weaver” in the product listing.
Older air rifles may have dovetail mount bases.
In this case, you’ll need a specific ring to fit that specific mount.
Optical Quality and Coatings
Shots that are in low light situations need a lens that will allow in as much light as achievable.
Any time light goes through a lens, some light is blocked by that lens.
Lens size, quality, and coating type can all affect how much light from the target is transmitted through to your eye.
A larger objective lens allows in more light but increases weight.
Increasing magnification allows for less light to be drawn in.
And lenses are often coated with a special material to improve light transmission. The more full the coating and the more parts of the lens are coated the better, though this increases expense.
However, a fully multi-coated 44mm lens will vastly outperform a 32mm uncoated lens during low-light conditions.
Illuminated reticles let shooters put a lit crosshair on the target.
Non-illuminated crosshairs are black and can blend into targets. Illumination eliminates this weakness.
Every scope is adjustable otherwise it wouldn’t be able to work with any air rifle.
Adjustment is made through turning the knobs on the top and right side of your scope. These are sometimes called turrets.
The top one changes elevation, pellet placement up and down, and the right knob changes windage, pellet placement left to right.
Covered knobs are great for hunters who want to zero their scope and never touch the darn things again.
Other shooters prefer turrets that can lock in the zero then be adjusted so you can compensate for distance or wind while keeping the crosshairs on-target.
However, these added features increase weight and expense while decreasing reliability.
The markings inside your scope you use to aim at the target are called reticles and there are many different types.
For air rifles, however, you only have to consider crosshairs and mil-dot reticles.
The crosshair is the two lines crossing at the middle point of your vision.
This is a humble design and is easy to use. It’s survived the test of time.
Crosshairs are best for simple shooting.
Milling reticles, or mil-dots, are effectively rangefinders inside a rifle scope.
These are crosshairs with dots on the vertical and horizontal lines. They correspond to a known measurement of height or width at a certain range.
To find out how distant an object is, you should know the height of the item and then use this formula:
(Scope of the target (m) / amount of mil of dots) x 1000 = distance
Mil-dots presum that a regular male human six feet(1.8m) tall, so if a hunter sees a man as four mill dots big on his field of view, the man is four-hundred-fifty meters away: 1.8/4 x 1000 = 450.
Mil-dot scopes are calibrated to be accurate at a specific magnification, so you’ll need to refer to your scope’s manual to use them properly.
Some scopes come with additional products that can improve your shooting experience.
Lens covers can help protect your scope in the field.
Sunshades help to prevent glare but lengthen your scope and lower light transmission.
These can be good to have but are not necessary for a scope to help you achieve success!
You have to make sure you do enough research then choose the best air rifle scope that fits your air gun, your eye, and your shooting style.
Purchasing a wrong one in haste will later make you upset and frustrate you when you go hunting.
And so take your time to figure out your needs before buying a scope.
Using an air rifle scope can help you be a more successful hunter.
So get on the track to success by buying the perfect air rifle scope without breaking your budget.
Good luck this hunting season!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does the Number before X Mean?
The number before “X” in a scope’s description is the level of magnification.
What Is Field of View and Does It Change with Magnification?
Field of view is how wide an area you can see through a scope. It decreases when you zoom in with a variable magnification scope.
Other factors that can increase the scope’s field of view include a larger objective lens and a shorter scope body.
Should I Use Adjustable Magnification or Fixed Magnification?
Scopes with adjustable magnification have moving parts inside. This makes them more expensive means they have more to go wrong if the scope gets knocked about.
Fixed magnification scopes will be cheaper and more reliable, though this advantage is minor compared with the scopes of yesteryear.