Accuracy and consistency are typically the key ingredients to putting the arrow exactly where you want. Much of it has to do with figuring out the right optics for your crossbow. Ideally, you want to aim, point and shoot to make an exact hit. That's where the best crossbow scope comes in to make things easier and a good deal more accurate.
Should You Upgrade Your Crossbow Scope?
Most modern crossbows come as ready-to-shoot roll-ups that include a scope. On the one hand, these all-inclusive packages can be great for beginners, but the quality of the accessories tends to leave a lot to be desired down the line. Upgrading your optic quality makes a world of difference in your accuracy, particularly when shooting in dark or low light conditions.
Optics are critical for crossbows because they allow you to tailor your weapon to the job, even outperforming iron sights. Consequently, the first accessory that most crossbow shooters upgrade in their hunting equipment is the scope. In this guide, we are looking to step up your options from the basic optics that come with most crossbow packages.
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Let's whittle down to our top picks for the best crossbow scope to advance your game:
1. CVLIFE 3-9x40 AO Crossbow Scope
- Specification: 3-9x40
- Magnification: 3-9x
- Objective Diameter: 1.57
- Exit pupil: 0.2
- Length: 12.20
It's hard to find a better and more compact crossbow scope than the CVLIFE 3-9x40 AO. For starters, the 3-8x magnification on a 40mm lens offers remarkable performance out in the open. Despite measuring over 12 inches, which is larger than most crossbow scopes feature on this guide, the size allows for more light transmission and magnification. It lets through 95% of light transmission to the multiplex reticle, making it ideal for both well-lit and low light conditions.
On top of the huge magnification range and impressive low-light performance, this scope is built with durability in mind. It features a shockproof design, allowing it to chin up to all the perils you can imagine while hunting. With this scope and a great survival knife, you can be ready for anything that's coming your way. More so, the CVLIFE| 3-9x40 AO can also be used as a rifle scope.
2. UTG 4x32 Crossbow Scope
- Built on Robust True Strength Platform with Smart Spherical...
- Superior Quality Precision Broadband Lens Coating Offers the...
- Premium Zero Lockable and Resettable Target Turrets for Wind...
- Sport type: Hunting
This UTG 4x32 is an excellent choice, pretty lightweight, and measures just a little over 8 inches long and almost 2 inches wide. It's arguably the perfect size for a crossbow hunting scope with plenty of space between the lens and your eye. It features a 32mm objective lens with 4x magnification, plus a 5-step reticle calibrated to 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50-yard distances, where the lines span the entire width of the scope.
The UTG crossbow scope has fully multi-coated optics to provide truly amazing light transmission. It's an illuminated scope, either red or green, with different brightness levels depending on the particular light conditions. You can even turn off the illuminated completely if necessary. In addition, this scope is fully adjustable, featuring both zero lock and zero resettable options to ease adjustments.
3. Vortex Optics Crossfire II Crossbow Scope
- The 3-12x56 Adjustable Objective Hog Hunter Crossfire II...
- The adjustable objective provides image focus and parallax...
- With long eye relief and an ultra-forgiving eye box, you'll...
- Capped reset turrets are finger adjustable with MOA clicks...
- A single piece tube constructed from aircraft grade aluminum...
Also known as the Hog Hunter, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II is a large, durable and highly-performing scope that offers unmatched accuracy. It has a massive 3-12x magnification range. It also features a 56mm AO lens that is multi-coated with anti-reflective elements and purged with nitrogen, making it waterproof and fog proof for hunting even in the morning dew.
One of its standout features is the quick focus adjustment that allows you to change focus on the fly for fast-moving targets. The large lens offers great brightness with amazing low-light performance. More so, it features built-in parallax removal so that your long-range aim remains undistorted. It also comes with second focal plane (SFP) reticles close to the eyepiece lens to improve accuracy.
4. TRUGLO Red Dot Crossbow Scope
- RED-DOT XBOW 30MM 3-DOT BLK
- RED-DOT XBOW 30MM 3-DOT BLK
- RED-DOT XBOW 30MM 3-DOT BLK
- RED-DOT XBOW 30MM 3-DOT BLK
- RED-DOT XBOW 30MM 3-DOT BLK
If you're looking for a user-friendly and uncomplicated scope, then this would be perfect for you. For starters, it's a 30mm scope featuring the traditional red-dot reticle. The reticle comprises three individual red dots and a 5 MOA reticle for ultra-fast sighting. Furthermore, it has numerous adjustability settings for contrast control and brightness, windage and elevation adjustments, all remarkably simple to change with clear and tactile clicking.
The Truglo crossbow scope is ultra-compact and lightweight. It measures only 9 inches long and 2 inches wide, weighing only 9.6 ounces. That makes it the ideal scope for long-hunting trips with plenty of walking. Overall, it has great performance, although it struggles a tad in low-light conditions.
5. Hawke Sport Optics 12221 XB1 Crossbow Scope
- CROSSBOW SCOPE with 11 layer fully multicoated optics for...
- EXCEPTIONALLY ROBUST with 1 inch monotube chassis designed...
- SPEED ADJUSTER matches the bow speed from 250 fps to 425 fps...
- ILLUMINATED GLASS ETCHED XB1 SR RETICLE 10yd aim points from...
The Hawke Sport Optics XB1 is a superb choice for high-speed crossbows shooting at speeds between 250-425 per second, thanks to the impressive built-in speed adjuster. This feature lets you calibrate the scope to match your shooting speed. That also means you keep your reticle and aim as accurate as possible. In fact, it offers 50 yards free of parallax.
This top-rate scope includes an 11-layer coated lens for exceptional clarity, including full illumination to allow you to shoot in low-light conditions easily. It's built with a sturdy 1-inch monotube made of aircraft-grade aluminum to ensure it can withstand even the harshest weather conditions. Plus, the o-ring sealing and nitrogen purging ensure the scope is waterproof and fog proof.
Types of Scopes -outdoor empire
a). Red Dot Scopes
Red dot scopes are the epitome of simplicity -no magnification, no pricey ballistically calibrated reticles. Instead, they simply come with a clean, clear red dot that's ever-ready to point to the precise spot you want your arrow to hit.
Their popularity lies in their parallax error. With red dot scopes, the arrow goes where the dot is. Therefore, they make an ideal sight for crossbows. They offer a simple and accurate aiming system, a potential lifesaver when you have an awkward shot while stalking or out of a treestand.
b). Magnified Scopes
Magnified scopes, as the name suggests, present bigger-looking targets. Crossbows don't shoot too long, so a little magnification can help identify trophies, thread needles through a brush or make out the edges of game in thick vegetation. It's important to determine the instances that need magnification and how much of it is required. More so, it's worth noting that magnification only helps you to see better, not shoot better.
c). Ballistically Calibrated Scopes
Ballistically calibrated scopes come with reticle designs designed to predict an arrow's flight path. That includes multi-pin sights, with each pin set for a different distance.
BDC reticles are pretty similar, although they can't be adjusted. That means you have to memorize which crosshair corresponds to which range through consistent practice.
Factors to Consider in the Best Crossbow Scope
1. Optics Quality
A crossbow scope is pointless if you can't see clearly out of it. It's important to ensure that your ideal scope allows sufficient light to pass through to give you the crispest picture possible. The right crossbow optics are essential in finding consistency and accuracy.
Multi-coated lenses let the most light through. You can look into a nitrogen-filled scope to avoid fogging that mostly happens in the morning. Furthermore, you should preferably consider a scope that features some form of reticles to give you more accuracy when aiming and shooting. An illuminated reticle is a bonus in low light conditions.
The primary objective behind a crossbow scope is magnifying your potential target so that you can see it better, thus creating a more accurate aim. The amount of magnification power varies depending on the model. As such, look out for a scope that offers sufficient magnification suited to your shooting style.
Size is just as critical when it comes to crossbows. For starters, it has to be aptly sized to pack with other hunting equipment. Additionally, the size of the scope also affects the overall weight and balance of the crossbow. Therefore, it's recommended to avoid buying scopes too large since this can make your crossbow unbalanced and harder to aim.
Crossbow scopes are designed to be mounted and unmounted at will, particularly during hunting trips when you have to pack in and out of remote areas. Since you'll be handling the scope quite frequently, you should ideally go for something that can take a fair share of abuse in the field without you worrying it'll break.
On top of durable construction, you also want firmly attached and equally durable mounting rings. The scope's casing should also be able to protect it against being banged around with your other gear or the occasional drops. A sturdy case provides extra protection and durability, as well as convenience when you're traveling.
Fog proof and waterproof capabilities also add to the durability of the scopes, saving you plenty of future repair costs. That without even mentioning the higher quality shots they offer.
5. Ease of Use
Most scopes are made to be easy to mount. The top crossbow scopes are equally easy to calibrate and adjust, leaving you fully focused on the target and not your equipment. It would be ideal to go for scopes that allow you to make wind speed and elevation adjustments without using a tool. These normally feature small dials that make adjustments a breeze.
Key Terms When Choosing the Perfect Crossbow Scope
- Magnification - a measure of the number of times the apparent size of the object is enlarged relative to its actual physical size. In other words, how many more times better you can see an object better than with your naked eye.
- Field of View - refers to the actual width of the scope's sight picture at a specified distance. For instance, a scope can provide a 20 feet wide sight picture at a range of 200 yards. Field of view is a function of magnification and the lenses' focal lengths. As such, the higher the scopes magnification, the narrower the field of view.
- Stray Light - refers to the scope's ability to prevent light from reflecting off the metal interior to preserve the target's image quality.
- Eye Relief - simply refers to the distance between your shooting eye and the eyepiece lens. If the relief is too small, it poses the risk of your eye hitting the eyepiece during release and recoil. The general rule of thumb dictates that higher magnification and field-of-view mean a shorter eye relief.
- Exit Pupil - refers to the amount of light that reaches the shooting eye.
- Length - is the distance between the back edge of the eyepiece to the leading edge of the objective lens. Longer models equals greater magnification, whereas shorter scopes tend to be lighter with smaller profiles.
- Center Tube Diameter - determines the base and size rings need for mounting. Center tube diameter also affects the scope's durability.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Best Crossbow Scopes
1. Are rifle scopes and crossbow scopes the same?
Not particularly. They are only similar in the same way a Tesla is to a Ford F-150; both have four wheels. Otherwise, they are two different tools made for different jobs. A rifle scope is meant for aiming bullets that naturally travel much faster and over longer distances. A crossbow scope features reticles made for crossbow use.
2. Can I use a rifle scope on a crossbow?
The short answer is yes. However, the better question would be: Why would you want to? Previously, it would have been sensible, but nowadays, plenty of outstanding scopes are built specifically for crossbow and crossbow hunting; you really don't have to go for a rifle scope. This guide gives you a sound start to finding the right one for you.
3. What is the ideal distance to zero a crossbow?
In most cases, it's recommended to zero the topmost reticle on your scope to 20 yards. This is generally the most common distance for your typical crossbow hunting. That being said, some products come with specified zero distances, so always follows their instruction.
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